The Trials series has always been a benchmark of quality and enjoyment. Its last iteration, Trials Evolution, pushed the bar when it came to quality and was an excellent game because of it. Can Trials Fusion repeat this achievement or is it just another notch in the franchise’s belt?
Trials Fusion is through and through a Trials game with all of the franchise’s iconic features intact, but now in a more futuristic setting. It’s almost Tron-like in its presentation with the neon lines adorning everything and buildings being shiny and futuristic. That’s not the only setting, however. You will also be pulling off tricks in jungles, ancient temples and military bases.
If you’re unfamiliar with the mechanics of Trials, it’s basically you, a bike, some steep hills and obstacles and you have to get to the end of it. You have to balance yourself and avoid crashing into a million pieces. It seems simple enough, but it’s way deeper than you can give it credit for. Once you get to the Hard tracks, you will probably start flipping tables and hurling small animals because of how incredibly difficult the tracks are. That’s not even talking about the Extreme tracks that have you spending 50 retries and 10 minutes trying to get over a box. Veterans of the series will still find that unbelievable level of challenge that they enjoy while newcomers can still enjoy the good fun that comes with the series.
Something new to the series is the addition of a narrative as you go through all of the tracks. It’s certainly a strange choice to include a story into a game where you do backflips like a Monster Energy infused kid with ADHD. The narrative includes your AI called SinD or Cindy talking to you about the meaning of life and what it’s like being an AI all while making jokes and being awkward. I got a bit of a Her (the movie) vibe from it and it was strangely captivating. Along with Cindy is George who is kind of like a malicious announcer type AI that makes snarky comments and calls you a meatbag. It can all be seen as rather unnecessary, but it added a good bit of intrigue to the same old level-to-level method of progression and I was itching to hear what they say to me next.
The tracks themselves still have that high level of craftsmanship that Redlynx has and every track is in some way enjoyable to play. There is a bit of a heavy difficulty spike when you get to the Hard tracks because I got gold medals on every track on the Medium and Easy tracks rather easily, but when the Hard tracks got introduced, I struggled to even get a silver. But maybe I just suck. That’s the beauty of the Trials games. It’s never the game’s fault, but rather your skills. If you can just get a little bit better at bunny hopping then things won’t be so bad. It’s a prime example of the old phrase “easy to learn, hard to master”.
The newest addition to the franchise is the inclusion of a FMX mechanic. You can now do stunts on your bike with the right analogue stick. There’s a myriad of tricks that are available for you to do and they all look rather cool when you pull them off. If I have to criticize it, if you want to do a specific trick, the controls are a bit finicky and often don’t allow you to do what you want and instead makes you flail wildly on your bike. Still, it adds a new element to the mechanics and the addition of FMX modes is really welcome.
In addition to all the good stuff you get with the game, there’s also a wealth of challenges available with three for every track. These challenges range from simple backflipping challenges to challenges that change the entire orientation and mechanics of the tracks. They are quite challenging to obtain and will definitely provide completionists with sufficient substance. Some challenges are very creative and some even make you do an entirely different track. You obtain them by finding hidden areas in the track and they are sometimes very hard to get to. In a linear game, this added element of exploration is very welcome and makes the runtime of the game significantly longer. You can blaze through the campaign in about three hours if you just complete each track, but with all the challenges and medals, it can go up to thirty or even hundreds if you set your sights on completing every challenge (good luck with that).
Track central makes a return and you can still expect creative and astonishing tracks being made by the community. It was a little sparse at the time of reviewing the game, but as the creative people get their claws into the track creator, expect to see some great player created tracks. This adds a lot more value for your money as you will always have more tracks to play.
The visuals are stunning and tracks look amazing with the lighting and futuristic designs. The soundtrack is good with dubstep and electronica to go along with the futuristic setting. The main menu music in particular is excellent.
In the end, Trials Fusion provides a quality experience that you can expect from Redlynx. With the added additions of FMX mode, the little narrative in the background as you ride, the wealth of content and the overall fun experience, you can’t really go wrong with this title. Get it if you like to have some fun while getting a little challenge in as well.