Game Review: Trials HD

14 Jan

This recent history of video games are filled with modern games trying to capture or improve on classic games of a previous generation.  Xbox Live is full of such attempt with surprisingly few true successes.  Trails HD is one of those successes.  It takes the formula of Nintendo’s classic Excite Bike and adds a real physics system and current generation graphics into something that actually improves on the original.  No small feat. (Take this from a person that worked on a follow up version of the original Tetris.)

The result is much of what made Excite Bike fun to play. Trying to make the best time racing and making and hitting your jumps on a virtual dirt bike.  There are differences though.  Trails HD is not a head to head racing game.  The experience is purely single player but this doesn’t take away from the core fun.  In fact, making this a multiplayer game would detract from what makes it good and that is riding your bike through a progressively more insane series of courses.  While the game is visually in 3D, the gameplay is 2D.  Your race on a straight line with 4 main bike controls: Throttle, breaking, rider lean forward and lean back.

Each course requires you, the rider, to finish under a certain time and with a certain minimum of restarts. There are check points you pass while on the course that can be continued from mid-course in case you lose control and crash.  There are also 4 different bike types that can be considered upgrades but you will find that using a lesser powered bike can make some courses easier and quicker to finish.  There are also mini-games which are short skill challenges, like jumping a rocket powered bike off a ski jump type ramp for distance or riding your bike on top of a large cage type ball just to name two.  More mini-games, bikes and track courses are unlocked as you pass courses.

Trails HD is not flawless however. After about and hour or two of gameplay, the courses start to become brutally difficult.  So difficult, successfully finishing a course required me many (sometimes over a 100) retries. Each course as a gold, silver, and bronze achievement depending on your overall time and number of crashes you make before you finish. This is the biggest drawback to the game.  They designers should have been confident in their core gameplay and not simply tried to up the skill level requirements to near insane levels to finish each course.  What makes the game so difficult your bike’s landing angle, forward and vertical velocities and how easily subtle differences in these make for success and failure in the more difficult courses.

Trails HD Trailer
The verdict
  • Improving on dirt bike genre
  • Fun bike physics
  • Good course design
  • Irreverent sense of humor
  • Level editor included to make and share original courses
  • Over 50 different courses
  • Courses and environments could be more varied
  • Difficulty of some courses are brutally hard

Nerdphilia rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Ett svar to “Game Review: Trials HD”

  1. trulygaming januari 17, 2010 den 1:17 e m #

    Det är ju egentligen meningen att det ska vara så svårt, så det är inget minus enligt mig. Jag skulle sätta en 8.3/10 eller någonting sådant (sluta med 5-skalan. Den är konstigt. ;))Och dessutom så är det första spelet inte alls Excite Bike… Det är ett flashspel som bara hette Trials. Finns en demo på miniclip. Det är ju finska Redlynx som gör skiten. 🙂 Trevligt, trevligt!That it's hard is the point! That's not a minus if you ask me. I'd rate it 8.3 out of 10 or something like that. (and give up on the 0-5 scale… It's just weird.)Plus, the first game isn't Excite Bike. It's a flash game just called Trials. There's a demo of it on Miniclip. And ever since it's been made by the finnish indie gaming studio Redlynx. 🙂


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