To the uninitiated, RedLynxâ€™s 2009 Summer of Arcade release, Trials HD, seemed nothing more than a $15 take on the legions of balance-oriented browser-based biking games.Â However, the players that took the plunge and purchased it will most likely attest to the fact that Trials HD turned out to be a much more satisfying experience than what it showed on the surface.Â Intensely competitive friend leaderboards; legitimately challenging, knuckle-whitening courses; a ton of unique mini-games; and some over-the-top, red-blooded explosions for good measure culminated in one of the most memorable and addicting games in recent memory.Â Building a game with no narrative can be a tricky endeavor to keep the player engaged, but RedLynx pulled it off to a tee.
Given the runaway success of Trials HD, itâ€™s not surprising that the developers are looking to capitalize with a sequel.Â After being allowed some time with an early build of the game, itâ€™s easy to see that its title, Trials Evolution, is certainly apt.Â RedLynx seemed unwilling to push out a release that was little more than new tracks.Â Instead, the demo showed off a game that improved upon the basic formula of Trials HD, but simultaneously was able to preserve the charm and appeal that engaged so many players of the original.
RedLynx wasnâ€™t able to be present at the show, but we were able to snag an interview and some play time with Paul Loynd, a developer on Microsoftâ€™s side of Trials Evolution.Â He was able to answer a few of the questions that we had, as well as show off the much-anticipated multiplayer component of the game.
Loynd stressed that one of the features that RedLynx tried to nail down in Trials Evolution is a feeling of constant engagement.Â To aid with this, Trials Evolution will showcase a user-generated content system similar to Little Big Planet.Â In essence, any player will be able to build a track and upload it to the community for anybody to download and play.Â Additionally, each track will be able to be rated by everyone that plays it and will include how many times itâ€™s been downloaded.Â Then, itâ€™s entirely up to the gameâ€™s fan base to separate the good from the bad, which will push the approved-of content to the forefront.
Furthermore, we were given confirmation that the much-lauded Skill Games will be making an appearance, again.Â Loynd proclaimed that the number would be comparable to the amount in Trials HD and that RedLynx has come up with some really great ideas for the Skill Games.Â This announcement doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that the Skill Games in the original seemed to share just as much of the spotlight as the normal courses.
Our hands-on time with some of the multiplayer tracks shed a bit of light as to how the gameplay will work.Â Before the match, the players will be able to select and vote on a playlist of tracks to play, somewhat akin to selecting songs in a Rock Band game.Â There will be two types of multiplayer emphasis – long, sweeping tracks designed for speed and jumps; and more “traditional” courses focused on navigating obstacles.
The scoring criteria is based solely on a points basis.Â Each player is awarded points at the end of the race, the amount dependent upon the place they finished in.Â That’s pretty standard for racing games.Â Not standard, however, is that one point is deducted for every faults and falling too far behind the race’s leader.Â The latter was implemented because the multiplayer isn’t split-screen, so if someone finds themselves pushed off-screen, they’re warped forward to the leader’s position and find themselves one point poorer.Â Loynd commented that they’re not sure about the point values yet and are trying to strike that critical balance to smooth everything out.
One of the biggest immediate changes that most players will notice is the switch from stuffy warehouse environments to more open and outdoor spaces, adding a wonderful aesthetic aspect to the game that was missing from Trials HD.Â The ambient noise of moving water combined with the shadow’s cast by an overhead sun seem as if they’ll form the perfect backdrop for your rider’s trek.Â However, knowing RedLynx, it’s highly likely that they’ll use the environment as a set piece to bring natural hazards to the forefront of some tracks rather than to be content with restricting it to mere scenery.
After just a short bit of time with Trials Evolution, it’s quite apparent that it’s certainly poised to live up to the lofty expectations set by Trials HD.Â Trials HD thrived on the friendly competitiveness between online friends, and the multiplayer in Trials Evolution will take that to an entirely new and ridiculously gratifying level.Â After experiencing the enslaving gameplay and impressive polish that managed to seep out of a build that’s half a year from release, there’s no doubt that Trials Evolution is positioned to be one of the most well-received Xbox Live Arcade games of 2012.