Trials HD Micro-review: Tribulations

Trials HD isn't only a race against time, but against game physics. Combine that with tricky courses, and you can see why they call the game "Trials" and not "Rad Motorbike Racin' A-Go-Go". Though, that game sounds promising!

The original non-HD Trials is a puzzle-based Flash title that has players navigate stunt courses with a dirt bike. Impressive game physics keep things challenging as players try to make it through the courses as fast as possible with the fewest mistakes. Trials HD brings those realistic physics, impossible jumps and exploding barrels to Xbox Live Arcade — all on a 2D plane using 3D graphics.

How does the home console version hold up?

Loved
Simple, Yet Deep, Oh So Deep: The controls in Trials HD are bare bones: thumbstick for forward and back, right trigger to accelerate and left trigger to stop. Simple, right? Deceptively so. The game is incredibly deep, as Trials HD keeps throwing harder and harder tracks at you, pushing you to become increasingly responsive in how you use those controls. The learning curve is steep and brutal at times, leaving you almost wanting to chuck your controller in frustration. It is, however, tremendously satisfying to go back to courses you've completed before and see just how your skills have improved.

Let's Get Physic(al): The physics are the star here — and what a star. Trials HD actually gives you the feeling of landing a tricky set of jumps. During play, don't be surprised to find yourself leaning forward slightly as you fly through the air and relax as you touch down safely.

Hated
Hard In A Good Way And A Bad Way: Trials HD is hard. Really hard. The later courses can be frustratingly hard — to the point of giving up. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But, part of the frustration isn't the inability to just nail a jump, but know how to figure out the puzzle. Guess that's why they're puzzling, no? Some of the harder courses are hard because they are neither instinctive nor based on previous experience and sometimes seem to come out of left field. The game doesn't build up to some of the more frustrating courses, and they seem shoehorned in.

Trials HD is everything you want from a downloadable title: It's short and fun in quick bursts, but stands up to long play sessions and has fantastic replay value.

Released on August 12, Trials HD was developed by RedLynx and published by Microsoft for Xbox LIVE Arcade. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points. Played all beginner, easy and medium tracks as well as some hard tracks. Tested out the level editor.