RedLynx’ hit series, Trials, began as a web release way back in 2000. It was a simple, mindless distraction, but one many couldn’t stop playing. It wasn’t long before the formula begun taking new form, shifting from a basic (albeit addictive) little game into something much larger. Trials Fusion, the latest in this series, features a new, futuristic coat of paint, but maintains everything that made it noteworthy to begin with.
The core gameplay in Trials Fusion, as in any Trials game, is a 2D physics-based motorcycle obstacle course that forces you to learn the many tricks to handling your bike. You control your speed as well as having the ability to lean back and forward, changing your momentum. This element is relatively simplistic at first, but the deeper you get into the game, the more nuances you discover. It’s still as mechanically sound as you expect from the series, and its numerous intricacies are what makes it worth coming back to time and time again.
Once you get past the basics, you’ll begin to understand the mechanical subtlety of leaning and how it’s used to tackle the game’s many obstacles. This is exactly where the series, especially Trials Fusion, shines. Mastering the game’s fundamentals, as well as the many courses you’ll be challenged with, is a test in patience as much as it is skill, but it makes overcoming those moments immensely satisfying. Best of all, the difficulty curve is just right, slowly introducing you to new, more difficult obstacles as you progress, never forcing you to learn too much at once. It’s still plenty difficult, don’t worry, but the increase in challenge isn’t sudden. As a result, it feels more welcoming to newcomers than previous titles.
Fusion’s futuristic aesthetic mixes the new and the old to create something special. The tracks you ride on shift as you move along them, with ramps and other obstacles moving around the environment to create safe pathways for you to traverse all while attempting to avoid landing on the ground face-first. There are still plenty of more traditional Trials levels, keeping things varied as you make your way from one event to the next. This doesn’t change the way you approach Trials, but the visual switch-up as well as the variety in course design is a far cry from Trials HD’s dull warehouse designs and even Evolution’s simple outdoors approach.
New to this iteration is a trick system, which adds a different dimension to a series that has stayed the same, for better or worse. After making enough progress in the game’s single-player mode, you’ll unlock the ability to perform tricks which, unfortunately, add nothing new to the core levels. On the bright side, RedLynx has included a number of trick-based events. Examples include requiring you to perform a specific set of tricks until you crash or simple score-based courses that throws you against a multitude of different ramps, allowing you to test out as many as you can before you reach the end.
The tricks are relatively easy to pull off by using the right analog stick while in the air, with each position of the bike and movement of your thumb indicating a different trick type. These are undeniably enjoyable once you get the hang of the system, but it can be, well, tricky when you want to pull off one trick and end up doing something entirely different. It initially seems to be as nuanced as the basic riding mechanics, but even after several hours of play, I was never able to get a handle on specifics. It was only an issue during a select number of events, but it’s an unfortunate problem nonetheless.
As you might expect, Trials Fusion also included a level creator mode, allowing you to create tracks and share them online as well as download the creations of others. I never touched this mode in previous Trials games, but I was able to jump right into it with Fusion and construct a basic level in a few minutes. It’s as straightforward or complex as you want it to be, and it leads to some truly ingenious creations from fans of the series. Even if you never touch this mode, hop in just to see what kinds of levels are being made, many of which may put your motorcycle skills to the test.
If you’re coming to Trials Fusion looking for a reinvention of the formula or remarkable innovation, you might be disappointed. That said, the series’ mechanics are still exceedingly addictive, and the variety in the levels, both in terms of aesthetics and design, is a much-needed change. Above all else, it’s another enjoyable entry in the series and will undoubtedly keep you busy for quite some time.
Pros: Pleasant new aesthetic approach, excellent level design and variety
Cons: Finicky new trick system, essentially more of the same