A long time ago, in a blogging galaxy far, far away, I took on the challenge of 30 Days of Gaming, a then-popular meme that proposed one videogame-themed topic per day for thirty of them timesinks. It took me longer than that to complete, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyways, one of the topics asked about was guilty pleasure games, which I named as Pokemon White, but really it could be anything Pokemon-related. But move aside, pocket monsters, because there’s a new contender in the ring, and it has truly taken me by surprise. Trials Evolution: I feel weird playing you, but also am having a blast.
To start, I am no fan of bike sports. Sports related to bikes and jumping hills and going down ramps and all that jazz. Is there even a term for it? Motorcycling? Just bicycling? Extreme motocross? Yeah, I don’t know and am completely disinterested in actually looking it up; feel free to school me in the comments section below. As a youngling in middle school and early on in high school, I hung out with a group of friends that were a mix of skateboaders and bikers and stoners. I rode a bike, too, but nothing fancy and could only do bunny-hops or short distance wheelies. For me, biking was a way to get around Smithville, to WaWa and Willy’s house, not training for an Olympic event, and once I got to the point where I had friends with cars or a car of my own, I left my bike in the dust. So yeah, bike sports. They surely exist–as do I–but we keep to our separate paths these days.
But Trials Evolution is no mere sports simulation. It’s full-on crazy. You take control of a man on a bike, and your main goal is to get to the other side, where the finish line is. There are other goals, too, such as getting there with no mistakes or under a certain time, and depending on how well you do, you are awarded medals (bronze, silver, and gold). Earn enough medals, and you can then unlock more stages to play on. Shampoo, rinse, clean your armpits, and repeat. Or however that saying goes. It starts out easy and then gets sickeningly difficult. But deep in that difficulty is fun, with a true sense of accomplishment when you get to the end of the track with no mistakes.
I never played Trials HD, but I’ve learned quite a bit about this series from my short time with Trials Evolution: it’s all about patience and control. Every lean or slight twitch of the analog stick is more than enough to send your biker head over heels (or heels over head). Learning the looseness and tightness of each bike is vital to clearing a track with the elegance of a ballet dancer, and right now, I am mainly using the third unlocked bike. Don’t know its name, but it doesn’t flip when you hold down the throttle, something I appreciate. The Phoenix, on the other hand, is extremely finicky and must be handled like a tower of glass shards balancing on a paper plate.
But it’s this dance of balance and skill that makes Trials Evolution enjoyable in my eyes. Plus the crazy level design. Otherwise, everything else is not my cup of tea. For example, the opening rap track that plays before the main menu is upsetting and embarrassing, and I just cannot get excited about adding new accessories to my bicycle and tricking it out. I dipped into multiplayer, which reminds me of Excite Bike, but probably won’t get too involved there. And the level editor looks neat, but I have no time to comprehend its intricacies and will be content to just download new, highly rated tracks made by others.
Currently, I have over 100 medals and am trying to Gold some medium difficulty levels in hopes of earning enough to unlock the last set of challenges. Wish me luck, and don’t mind my grumbling. Once I get over that nastily placed rock and down the hill on my way to victory, I’m nothing but smiles and warm compliments.