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Thread: Game Review: Trials HD (XBLA)

                  
   
  1. #1
    DCEmu Reviewer Bratman Du's Avatar
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    xbox 360 Game Review: Trials HD (XBLA)



    Developer: RedLynx Ltd
    Developer: Microsoft
    Release: August 12, 2009
    Genre: Racing / Puzzle
    Players: 1
    Age Rating: ESRB: T (Teen) / PEGI: 3+
    Price: 1200 msp

    Trials HD is one of those games that fits very snugly into the category of simple fun. Like many of the better XBox Live Arcade games, it has a simple principle, crafted into a pleasingly fun experience.



    I seem to recall playing a 2D flash version of this many years ago on newgrounds (Elasto Mania) and the concept was much the same as it is with Trials HD, a motorbike game of sorts, which plays out in 2D. Trials HD of course has a full 3D environment, however you are restricted to moving left and right, up and down in 2D, and the bike never moves in or out of the screen. Basically all you need concern yourself with is forwards and backwards.



    The standard game mode is simply time trials on a variety of courses ranging from the relatively simple to the punishingly hard. If you lean too far forward or back your bike will tip, and if your head or back hit a surface it's a crash and you must restart or reset to a checkpoint. Of course you must often tip yourself so that the wheels align towards the surface you're heading for, incase you crack your head!



    To get gold medals for each track, you pretty much have to do it in one run without crashing and in a fairly speedy time. Easy enough until you hit the end of the 'medium' set of tracks. As a nice touch, the timer at the top also displays the progress if any of your friends on the same level in an unobtrusive manner. If you find yourself unable to achieve a gold medal - you can at least try and best your friend's times!



    Later on you'll find loops and physics-ey balancing sections, requiring careful control of your speed and orientation - like I mentioned earlier, if you're heading right for a wall you need to make sure your wheels face down onto the surface, likewise if you're heading for the roof - rotate upside down to protect your precious head!



    It's a nice system, and 'nice' is a word I don't really like or use often, it implies that there's nothing offensive or wrong with this game, but at the same time, it doesn't blow me away. But that's ok, because I don't think you need to be blown away to enjoy a game.

    That I remember enjoying the 2D flash version of Elasto Mania, many years ago, and had as much fun as I've had with Trials HD, says alot about the effectiveness of the core gameplay mechanic.

    You unlock challenges too, which differ not only from the main time trial mode, but also from each other. One challenge wants you to bail out of your bike and send your driver hurtling down a large ravine, with points awarded for the most bones broken! Another might see you try and maintain balance to the end of the level, whilst inside a giant hamster ball - then try one where you are on top of the ball on the outside! Gently carry a trolley with missiles that explode after too much bumpiness or simple try the mountain climber challenge - where victory is decided by how high you can scale a ramp.

    Some of these are really difficult, and there's frustration galore in both the main game and the challenges. But it's fun frustration, if that makes sense. Like N+, there's a drive to get better and you know if you replay a level you're stuck on, just one more try might get you through it! You learn to balance better and to manage your movement.

    When you're done with all that there's even a detailed and full scale track editor which is incredibly complex, and apparently what the designers used to make the actual game.



    It's a hard game to sum up, but basically it's a nice concept, a proven fun gameplay mechanic with plenty of challenging courses and tests of control, and the option for user created content that's on par with the actual game. Addictive and frustrating in equal measure, nicely presented graphically, there's little to complain about overall, but also, it's essentially a lot of what we've seen before repackaged.

    There's no denying the fun that can be had with it, and if you find yourself with the points, this is worth a download, if even just for the hilarious crashes that can happen - you'll be cursing whilst any onlookers guffaw at your misfortune.


    A decent game, with many hours of fun and frustration. Worth the money. If you liked N+, you'll probably like this.

    Bratman.
    Last edited by bandit; September 28th, 2009 at 20:48.

  2. #2
    Acorn Electron User
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    I tried the Demo of this a short while ago and really enjoyed it. It was laugh out loud at times when I was trying to get the hang of it watching that poor rider get flung about all over. It's one I'd like to pick up if I can be arsed to get some MS points at some stage.

    Some of questions: can you share your created tracks? Are other users' creations available freely to extend the value of the game or is it a friends only type of thing?

    Also, is the level designer hard to use/learn? Did you manage to create anything with it? What was that experience like?

    Ta.

    (goes off to find elasto mania)

  3. #3
    DCEmu Reviewer Bratman Du's Avatar
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    It seems you can only share tracks amongst friends, and at that, if I make a track, share it with you - you CANNOT share it with anyone else, which I feel kind of defeats the purpose of sharing tracks!

    Still, the track editor is easy enough to understand and use - although bear in mind, I use 3D Studio Max a lot, so it's hard for me to say what a non-3D designer would make of it.

    However, as a 3D designer, I usually find console editors poor and limited - but this game allows you an incredible amount of control over track creation, I tried it out for a while, and found it easy to use and create a track - but to make a really good one, a challenging, fun and frustrating track - would take a long time to get the items all in the right position.

    I'm told that the track editor is pretty much what the developers used to make the tracks in the main game, so that should give you a good idea!

    As I say though - it's poor form that you may only share with friends, and they in turn, may not share your tracks on with others.

    Some sort of searchable, rate-able, user-generated-content-database would have been nice!

  4. #4
    Sir Digby Chicken Caesar Darksaviour69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bratman Du View Post
    Some sort of searchable, rate-able, user-generated-content-database would have been nice!
    Probably saving that for Trials HD 2

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    That's a shame. I was hoping it might be like Little Big Planet or something where you can share and review other peoples' tracks and so on.

    I've used Cinema 4D in a basic sense to model minor things so I think I might be OK with the editor.

    Out of curiosity, what kind of 3D work do you do Bratman Du (for some reason I wanna keep calling you Bartman )? I've been meaning to learn Cinema 4D for some time now and it's always nice to see or find out what other folks are doing. Perhaps you could show some stuff in the art forum if it's stuff you're happy to show?

  6. #6
    DCEmu Reviewer Bratman Du's Avatar
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    I do 3D work for a company doing 3d work mostly for presentations and games. I just use 3DS Max, not sure about Cinema 4D I'm afraid. I didn't know there was an art forum, maybe I'll do that!

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