I suck at Trials. I’ve sucked at every Trials game since Trials HD, and Trials Rising is no unexpected exception. But for some reason, I also volunteer to review every Trials game, even though I suck at them, because… I dunno. I guess I’m a sucker like that.
And I suck so bad at this Trials game that I managed to wipe out in about three seconds of the first track, and I’m not even making that up for lolz. I actually, for reals wiped out in about three seconds of the first track, dredging an entirely new level of humiliation at the bottom of a series of humiliations, and the opening FUUUUUUUUUUUCK of the game.
The thing about Trials games is that they require a tremendous amount of precision, subtlety, and unflinching determination, and I have a zero in each those stats. I’m the sort of player who’s pushing every button to max before the buzzer goes. This includes the game’s tutorial about gas control, which explains before it even starts that you shouldn’t push every button to max. I’ve got a zero for my taking instructions stat too, so I flip my bike a lot and I swear even more.
The other thing about Trials games, however, is that they’re super-duper fun (except 2016’s Trials of the Blood Dragon, which despite its campy retro-nostalgic pop culture premise was not super-duper fun). Sucking at Trials is kind of the point, because everybody sucks at Trials, and I think it’s important that games like this keep us conscious of our own limits. Trials Rising is an admonition of humanity’s reckless hubris, a reminder that if we can’t even keep a fake bike from exploding, we probably shouldn’t be building nukes or colonising Mars or giving mom the wifi password. Or something. Maybe I’m over-analysing it.
Much like other Trials games (except Trials of the Blood Dragon, but we’ve talked about that and now let’s pretend it doesn’t exist), Trials Rising features a sequence of increasingly difficult and exhilarating tracks, with the franchise’s idiosyncratic, unpredictable aesthetics – one track warps dizzyingly between a Hollywood soundstage and the movie’s sci-fi CGI post-production alien invasion, for example, and another has me jumping dusty gaps and industrial girders between the pyramids of Giza. Every track is unique, and a complicated new puzzle to solve through repetition, swears, and pyrotechnics.
With more than 100 tracks at launch, Trials Rising is the definitive one-more-before-bed time-waster that’s going to keep players (and their neighbours) up until 4am.
Access to new tracks is restricted at times by XP prerequisites, though, and the interface is a mess of loot box unlocks and progress screens and sponsors and whatever else. Who even wants loot boxes in a Trials game? The custom cosmetics are kind of cool in theory, I suppose, but it’s like I only ever get denim vests. Vomit. And the stuff I do want – like those neon cyberpunk pants and futuristic hi-tops – are extortionately expensive if I’m buying with Trials Coins, the basic in-game currency. Yes, I could purchase some of the Trials Acorns premium currency with cash, but no. It doesn’t matter much in the context of the game, perhaps, but it also feels sleazy and unnecessary.