Trials Fusion Review

Trials

If you’re like me, you probably spent countless hours in computer class playing the original Trials flash games. RedLynx had taken an incredibly simple idea and added a polish to it that we hadn’t really seen in the genre. Flash forward to the release of Trials HD in 2009. The game received critical praise and a steady fan-base because of their perfection of the concept and successful attempt at bringing it to a home console.

After HD and Evolution, fans expected another game would appear on the horizon. Cue Trials Fusion, an absolutely fantastic culmination of all of the ideas presented in previous titles, with a nice new paint job to boot.

Trials Fusion, like its predecessors, appears to be quite the shallow game at first glance. You play as an unnamed test subject as he attempts to make his way through each course, designed by some ambiguous corporation for reasons unknown. The entirety of the game has you driving left to right, and contains only a few basic control options.

You hold R2 to accelerate, L2 to brake, and the left thumbstick to lean forward or backward. Pressing triangle allows you to bail, essentially committing suicide, but beyond comedic value, it doesn’t really have much purpose. You do eventually unlock the ability to pull off stunts by holding the right thumbstick in certain directions, adding another level of depth for those who seek it.

The idea that the game is controlled with such limits makes it appear to be nothing but an ‘Excitebike HD’ of sorts. This couldn’t be further from the truth however. While you are restricted by these concepts, the real depth comes into play when you factor in the obstacles you must overcome, the physics you must master, and the absolutely devilish design of the courses. RedLynx has shown that they have conquered the art of level design, as each stage is more interesting and challenging than the last.

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a sight to behold

They help keep things fresh by adding in locales that contrast each other aesthetically, and courses feel unique because of the changes of pace so frequently offered. One level will have you on an ATV as you fly over sand dunes, while another might have you in a factory that constructs the paths as you drive over them. Ideas like this keep things interesting, and there is never a sudden change in difficulty.

The learning curve for the levels is almost flawlessly balanced, and courses contain enough checkpoints to make anyone, veteran or newcomer, capable of toppling even the most challenging of obstacles. That said, RedLynx locked the harder stages behind medal requirements, so every player, good or bad, must start improving their scores and collecting medals if they wish to progress beyond the normal tracks. It is a smart move as it forces people to improve their skills, and in the end, makes the reward of completing the harder levels all the more satisfying.

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This is truly embarrassing

In Trials Fusion, each stage has a total of four obtainable medals. Simply completing a stage nets you a Bronze medal, but to get Silver, Gold, and Platinum, you must fulfil time requirements and complete perfect runs. It sounds easy enough, but the stages are designed in such a way that every tiny jump can mean success or failure if you are even remotely off on your speed, jump, angle, or timing. The levels ramp up to an almost impossible degree, and I found myself struggling to get past singular parts of a stage, based on the fact that RedLynx demands perfect execution on the ‘Expert’ and ‘Master’ tiers.

The game never feels unfair however. It never feels as if they’re trying to deceive you with flawed design. Every obstacle and checkpoint is deliberately and carefully placed so that you will always have a fair chance, granted you learn the mechanics. It’s also extremely useful that they’ve allowed you to watch friend’s replays, as I found myself learning a lot from players with a higher skill ceiling than myself on particularly cruel areas.

If you manage to overcome all of the metaphorical obstacles RedLynx has thrown at you, know that your journey is far from over. Beyond completing the 53 stages, each stage comes with a set of three optional objectives. They range from finding hidden paths, running over flowers, doing tricks in specific orders and other obscure actions. It adds an entire layer of depth for the completionists, and adds to the overall replay value.

They’ve also included several items for customization that give you a bit more control over your character and his vehicle of choice. Though the offerings are quite slim, it’s nice that you can give your favourite bike a different colour scheme, or dress up your character as you please.

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Am I in Heaven?

Beyond the single-player offering, Trials Fusion comes with a very robust track editor in the vein of LittleBigPlanet. You are given a set of tools that allow you to place objects, customize the weather conditions, the location of the sun, the time of day, and essentially any small tweaks you could think of. You can even change the geography to your liking, and as far as I can tell, there aren’t many drawbacks to the system in place.

Upon completion, you can share and upload your tracks to the online servers, and as expected, browse through community creations and nominated favourites. It truly makes an already replay-heavy game endlessly entertaining.

The one major disappointment I have with Trials Fusion is that they do not offer a competitive online feature. Trials is designed in such a way that it almost feels criminal to not have one, though to my knowledge, they have something planned. To counteract this issue, Redlynx has given players the option of playing with their friends via couch multiplayer. While it is definitely welcomed, especially in a generation focused entirely on online features, it would be nice to have a proper system in place for those who want to play with their online friends or compete against the best of the best.

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I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more

Trials Fusion offers nearly endless replay value, a plethora of tracks to play all with their own objectives, leaderboards to conquer, and a track editor that is bound to keep you occupied for months to come. Trials Fusion is, in my opinion, RedLynx’s biggest achievement to date.

If you appreciate tight game design or are a glutton for punishment, it behooves you to take a chance with Trials Fusion. 

Final Score: 9/10

Best Games Coming Out April 2014

Games

March is almost over and another month filled with enthusiastic game releases is approaching. April 2014 promises to deliver a huge diversity of gaming genres and cross-platform games titles. Innovation and creativity won’t be forgotten in most of the next-gen release this month. And even if April doesn’t include many AAA releases, there’s still plenty to explore and enjoy.

Here’s an extensive list of the best games coming in April 2014:

The Elder Scrolls Online1. The Elder Scrolls Online (PC, MAC)

The Elder Scrolls universe is finally embracing the MMO world. The wonders of exploration and role-playing from the original series will allow players to experience the real essence of Elder Scrolls in a cross-platform online game. The expectations towards this MMORPG are tremendous but not everything is remarkably appealing, the monthly subscription and the lack of original features have been diving the public opinion. Still, it’s surely the most anticipated release of April 2014. Check it out here.

Release Date: April 4th     Genre: MMORPG

Access: Purchase + Monthly Subscription     Official Website: elderscrollsonline.com

Publisher: Bethesda Softworks     Developer: ZeniMax Online Studios

The Amazing Spider-Man 2-22. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)

Peter Parker and his alter-ego are back for another enthusiastic adventure in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. A new wide cast of villains approaches New York City and players will be forced to choose between hero or menace, a new reputation system that brings different consequences. This upcoming Spider Man title has brand new combat mechanisms, skills and visuals, which will create a more immerse and dynamic gameplay. Click here to check it out.

Release Date: April 29th     Genre: Action-Adventure

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.theamazingspidermangame.com

Publisher: Activision     Developer: Beenox

Daylight 3. Daylight (PC, PS4)

Daylight presents a dramatic horror story, in which players rely simply on their cellphone to survive. The main protagonist is Sarah, a memory loss patient who regains consciousness in a haunted hospital. To escape she must explore and unveil the hospital’s secrets but that won’t be easy. The horror-survival genre has been quite numb lately but Daylight’s breath-taking gameplay might give a refreshing image to the genre itself.

Release Date: April 8th     Genre: Survival-Horror

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.playdaylight.com

Publisher: Atlus     Developer: Zombie Studios

War of the Vikings4. War of the Vikings (PC)

The Viking Age is coming to the present days through the eyes of Fatshark and its most recent creation, War of the Vikings. In this action multiplayer game, players will be able to create a personalized warrior and sack England as a fearless Norseman or defend it as a valiant Saxon. Customization is the main key feature of this title – combat, skills, tactics, characters, equipment – everything can be chosen and defined by players to create the ultimate warrior. Available as a digital download on Amazon.

Release Date: April 15th     Genre: Action

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.warofthevikings.com

Publisher: Paradox Interactive    Developer: Fatshark

Trials Fusion5. Trials Fusion (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U)

Trials Fusion dignifies the next generation of racing gaming. It combines the best of classic racing with stunning visuals, intuitive mechanics and addictive competition. It also features spetacular fantasy and sci-fi scenarios, turning every race into a dignifying spectacle. Check it out here.

Release Date: April 16th     Genre: Racing

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.redlynx.com/games/trials-fusion

Publisher: Ubisoft     Developer: RedLynx

Child of Light

6. Child of Light (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U)

Ubisoft’s next release is Child of Light, a platforming fantasy RPG for all ages. Centered on Aurora, a young girl who wakes up in mythical world of Lemuria, Child of Light challenges players to recover the celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars stolen by the Black Queen. This game features a turn-based combat system and it has more than 200 different skills and 600 crafting combinations. Download the game here.

Release Date: April 30th     Genre: RPG

Access: Purchase     Official Website: childoflight.ubi.com

Publisher: Ubisoft     Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Moebius Empire Rising7. Moebius: Empire Rising (PC, Linux, Android, iPad)

Moebius: Empire Rising presents an intriguing metaphysical story centered on Malachi Rector, an historic dealer who travels the world hunting down artifacts. The game challenges players to unveil the mysteries behind seeming common events that turn out to be something much deeper. Someone is trying to play with the fabric of life and Rector must measure his actions and the following consequences. Download a free version here.

Release Date: April 15th     Genre: Adventure

Access: Purchase     Official Website: www.postudios.com/company/games/moebius

Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios     Developer: Pinkerton Road

Other game releases this month: Goat Simulator (April 1st); Life Goes On (April 16th); Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance (April 3rd).