Trials Rising is as compellingly moreish as the series has ever been, a conclusion we come to very early on in our extensive hands on session recently.
You see, we were soaring through the air, arching from one muddy ramp to another over a speeding train, a huge grin plastered on our face as we’re very much In The Zone… before crashing inelegantly into the dirt. The bike we had been in control of milliseconds before buckled underneath us as we hit the gas too hard on the landing. We’ve barely registered our driver ragdolling back down the hill he just climbed before we’ve reset the track and started again.
So yes, Trials still captures the thrill of always feeling like your teetering on the edge of control. At its core, the series is a demanding motorbike racer that will satisfy everyone from speed demons to puzzle perfectionists, thanks to intricate courses that require solving as much as speeding through, along with a strong grasp of the physics that underpin the action.
However, for a series that turns twenty this year (the first Trials game was a Java game online), the fresh ideas in Rising keep us enthralled throughout, from flying through a Hollywood movie to studio to riding on a Tandem bike with a co-op partner. With that in mind, here are 5 reasons why we think Trials Rising will reach new heights for the series.
1. More accessible than ever
Don’t get us wrong, Trials is still very hard. Some of the later stages we’ve seen made our thumbs squeal in fear, such is the dexterity that will be required to navigate through them, but Rising goes out of its way to help ease new players in.
From a revamped tutorial called the University of Trials – with levels created by hardcore fan Brad Hill – to new tasks that will offer different objectives than just getting to the end of the course, alongside a more inviting world map where you can pick and choose which level you’ll play next that replaces the menus from Trials Fusion, this new entry feels really inviting to newcomers.
2. Tandem Mode
In the same vein as our first point, the Tandem bike will also help you convert people to the church of Trials. The Tandem Bike is a new way to tackle the game, with both players controlling the bike at the same time, trying to navigate their way to the end of the track.
This ingenious co-op mode is both devilishly tricky, as you and your partner debate on the best way to approach the course (“Tilt up, tilt up, tilt up! That’s the exact opposite of up”), as well as hilariously fun to figure out. Basically, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a tandem bike do a loop-the-loop with only one rider still on it by the time it gets around.
3. Brilliant track designs
If Trials Fusion took us to the future, giving us a glimpse of the courses we can expect later this century, then Rising returns to the present with some brilliant new concepts. One course that stands out early on is set in a Hollywood studio, which gives you a glimpse of the film that is being made there once you get halfway through.
Other tracks later on will also give you the chance to scale the likes of the Eiffel Tower and Great Wall of China, which suits us just fine. Mixing the scale of Trials Fusion’s vertigo inducing tracks alongside recognisable scenery has us packing our bags in excitement, ready for the world tour.
4. More customisation than ever
To say that the customisation options in Trials Rising is extensive is an understatement akin to saying “January is a bit cold”. You’re able to change the look of both your character and bike, expect there’s a lot of choices. You can keep it sensible and maybe whack a sticker onto your character… or you can give them a unicorn helmet with fluorescent leggings and create a day-glo delight of a biker.
Alongside a comprehensive track editor (which is used to create all the levels you play in Trials), creative souls will find plenty to engage with in Trials Rising.
5. Switch it up
Trials Rising will also be the first game in the main series to be portable, thanks to its Nintendo Switch version. We had a chance to play it on Switch alongside the PS4 version, and were left delighted by how well plays in the handheld mode.
Whether it was handing another person a Joy-Con to play Tandem mode with us or just taking on some of the early tracks the game has to offer, we can’t help but think our commutes are going to become trickier for the right reasons when Trials rises on the 26 February.