My first review for Darkworld Gaming was actually Trials Fusion which I spent a lot of time with mainly because I liked the challenge. Fast forward a few years and Trials Rising has arrived! For fans of the physics based skill games that require you to complete courses on your motorbike, Rising is here! My review is based on the Switch version as it seemed like a good game to take out and about with you!
First off, you get to create your character with a very basic selection process. Choose if you want your character to be male or female, what colour you would like them to be which I initially chose to be purple and pick your voice for those all important maniacal laughs and whoo-ahs as you plummet towards the ground! As you level up you will get gear crates that will give you stickers, gear and parts for your bikes so that you can customise your style a little bit more. Overall the customisation is good, you can mix and match some items of clothing (some items cannot change colour or have stickers affixed) but you can make your rider look pretty cool or whacky depending on what you fancy. You will also have the opportunity to modify your loading screen stance and your victory/losers pose which will come from crates or purchasing with your in game pennies which you rack up by racing, replaying tracks, completing contracts or training. I’m a big fan of the ‘Mooning’ victory pose whereby your character wiggles their bottom at you and pats themselves as a means of mocking their opponents. These will come in handy if you get a great track time and someone else just can’t beat you!
Character building aside, it’s all about the bike really. Now I have customised my bikes to make them a good mix of purple with neon pink and green accents. The bike parts seem to be mostly for style rather than performance as your bikes stats don’t increase or decrease depending on what you do to fix it up. As with Trials Fusion, you have a couple of bikes to choose from after you have levelled up to unlock them and depending on the track, the game will recommend a bike to use but you can go against that if you like!
So what about the game play? Well the premise is simple if you haven’t played Trials before… finish the course. Simple yeah? Well you will be in charge of the physics and will have to brake, lean, bunny hop, learn how to perfect your uphill landings because it’s not all about speed you know…. but that is a factor of course. You’ll start your induction at Trials University to learn the basics. I liked the little touch if you skipped the tutorial video as the Professor comments about how you think you don’t need his help. You’ll be graded on your speed or how far you get so if you don’t quite get the hang of something first time, you can go back later. Once you’ve done a couple the game opens up some tracks which steadily increase in their difficulty or technical requirement. I would mention to check in with the University every now and again as it doesn’t seem to prompt that your next training level is available but I may have just missed it!
The courses range from simply making jumps and trying to beat the ghosts times in order to achieve your Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and unlock further levels and you rank up. When you replay tracks you may notice other UPlay names pop up as you go up against their ghosts instead. You’ll unlock sponsors who set you contracts to do wheelies, front and back flips and beat the ghosts while trying not to get any faults which again increase in difficulty as you progress. I did like that you got a variation of Easy tracks which steadily get tricky before the Medium tracks kick in with more technical challenges to overcome. I found myself replaying a lot of tracks desperately trying to beat the contracts but also trying to improve my skills so that I could progress further to unlock more areas of the map and eventually unlock those Hard tracks to really test the skills… but I am currently stuck because I can’t progress until I level up a few more times which means I have to get better. It’s a good challenge but I just don’t know if I will just get lucky or if my skills will actually improve.
The tracks are enjoyable testing your reflexes, skills, balance as well as your patience sometimes. Whether you over rev or tip forward a little too much, you can trip up in so many ways but once you get into the flow, you’ll find yourself zipping through. There’s something satisfying about beating the harder levels similarly to Trials Fusion. You may make a mistake resulting in a fault, however if you aren’t trying to race against the ghosts and are only focused on finishing the track then you can take your time when it comes to tricky tracks. Plus you can always replay a track which will show your improvement as you go. There are Stadium races and Skill tracks to complete as well which will earn you XP and level ups so these are worth doing if you want to unlock further levels.
Graphically the game is great although while in handheld mode in the Switch I did find the graphics would judder at times where some stability would be lost while processing. This was not a noticeable issue while docked however but I would be interested to see if there was an issue on other platforms. The design of the tracks themselves is slick and suits the style of the place that you are racing, flipping and bunny hopping through. I found the music to be great as there’s a mix of rocky tunes and what the kids may refer to as ‘slamming beats’ I believe. I also liked that the music didn’t reset and kept going if you were faulting left, right and centre which in many ways improved staying with the flow of the ride. I found myself spending hours playing without realising much time had passed mainly because I would just get lost in the music while completing contracts and some of the trickier courses.
You have online play options whether you just race other riders online or you can do some local multiplayer by compiling a playlist with certain rules but if you look among the bike options, you may also note the Tandem bike for some multiplayer silliness. You are still able to build your own tracks and also try out other tracks made by the community. I haven’t been able to complete a track yet mainly because I’m finding the tools quite complicated but I dare say with a little more time and focus, it would be possible to build a tricky and fun track for others to play on.
Overall, Trials Rising still doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a lot of fun because of it. I like the challenge of the harder contracts and challenges but sometimes just enjoy killing a few minutes trying to beat a time or get that illusive Gold. It’s a game that you can pick up and play on a journey or spend a bit more time with while relaxing at home (if you find this type of game relaxing that is). Aside from the juddering graphics at times, I found the game to be good on the Switch as I could take it out and about with me, play on my lunch break at work or while on a train. I suppose if you can stop yourself from cursing any time that you have to restart or reset to the last checkpoint then it’s a good game to pass the time with but if you can’t hold your tongue, you may wish to stick with playing it at home. I would recommend Trials Rising for any fan of Trials Fusion and if you want a fun game to pass the time or challenge you then this will offer a mix of both. It’s very good on the Switch most of the time, but may feel a little more stable on another console. I’m glad Trials is back and look forward to trying to improve my skills as I continue to play!