Trials Fusion (Xbox One)
If you own (or have owned) and Xbox 360 in the past, chances are you’ve played one of the Trials games. Trials HD and it’s follow up, Trials Evolution are both arcade classics, the former introducing many gamers to cleverly disguised physics-based puzzle mechanics and the latter refining that same gameplay. ‘Trials Fusion’ is the latest in the series, and while it is fun, casual Trials fans might find that the new content is isn’t exactly progressive, let alone innovative. A futuristic coat of paint, it seems, does not a true sequel make.
As with previous entries in the series, Trials Fusion is all about getting your rider and his vehicle across difficult obstacle courses. There are bronze, silver and gold medals awarded depending on how long it takes you to complete the courses, and there are some unique challenges throughout the campaign too. Trials HD and Trials Evolution both offered up a ton of content for your buck, though the level design and gameplay were both very repetitive. While the difficulty steadily increased, the variety in the games’ levels did not. This however, is where Trials Fusion shines in particular, as there is now a wide variety of different tracks and environments for you to conquer.
When you first start Trials Fusion, you are greeted by a pretty stylish title screen. The music playing is very similar to Swedish House Mafia or the Presets; the song playing welcoming you to “the future”. It sets the tone for the rest of the game, and Trials veterans will probably appreciate the very different art direction and music from previous games. While the music and futuristic art direction complement each other and provide a more cohesive atmosphere than previous games, the title screen/menu music and a few of the other tracks can really begin to grate on the player, particularly on difficult levels where the player will go through a number of retries before beating the level.
The levels in Trials Fusion all look different from each other, and to a slight degree they all play different from each other as well. There are also level-specific optional objectives to complete, which add variety, but too often repeat themselves. When you weigh up the good and the bad of the level design, you will still find the majority of levels an absolute blast to play, especially when you nail them the first time.
Each series of levels has a different feel and approach to them. The futuristic levels are intense, as they can be full of platforms that launch the player, as well as rotating platforms that will provide safe landing areas at the exact moment a player needs to land. The desert-themed levels are more of your typical off-road racing affair, with speed and precise control of one’s vehicle being crucial to victory. Other environments will challenge the player in other ways, with loop-de-loops, multiple routes and steep inclines.
Control-wise, Trials Fusion will be immediately accessible to anyone familiar with previous Trials games. New players might find that the controls take some getting used to; however I’ve found that the vehicles in Fusion all feel different from each other, and the levels are more catered to individual vehicles, meaning that the game is still a challenge whilst feeling a little fairer on the player than previous titles.
Eventually, players will unlock tricks they can perform across every track, as well as trick challenge levels. These levels can be pretty challenging, though not always for good reasons. Tricks are dependent on two things: The angle of your bike and which direction you point the right stick. While this often proves accessible it can also prove to be a pain, as it feels like Fusion needs to think too long before executing a trick. Sometimes you pull of a pretty simple trick, like a Superman (left on the right stick) and then turn it into a back flip (left on the left stick). Other times, you might choose directions that don’t agree with each other, and your rider will cross his legs and leap over the handlebars in a fit of nonsensical gyrations. While this can be hilarious, it often leads to crashing or worse, cancelling your combo score. Sometimes, it seems, less is more.
When competing in time trials, the player is presented with ghosts of people of their online friends to compete against. At first, I had my finger down on the accelerator with reckless abandon, but as I began to progress through the campaign, I realised that not only was it fun beating my friends’ scores, but it also helped me gradually improve at the game. I would definitely recommending playing the game online, and getting your friends to pick up copies too. Like the recently-released Kinect Sports Rivals, one of Trials Fusions greatest strengths is the fact it can create friendly competition amongst friends.
In addition to the campaign levels, there is also a level editor included in Trials Fusion. While it offers you every single conceivable tool you could possibly want or need, it does not come with instructions, and as I am not familiar with Trials Evolution‘s level editor, I was completely lost. There is plenty of help online, but I do wish that RedLynx took the time to create a quick video or tutorial to help new players.
- Highly accessible
- Awesome multiplayer features
- More variety than previous Trials games
- Unforgiving difficulty spikes
- Tricks often don’t work
Despite not being as innovative as one would hope, Trials Fusion proves itself to be quite fun. Series fans will love it, and there’s no better time for newcomers to get in on the action. One of the first new-gen must-have arcade titles, Trials Fusion can provide entertainment for people with a few minutes, or a few hours to spare.