On the Origin of Wheelies
Trials Evolution is a title that may sound aggrandized, but Red Lynx makes good on the implication. True, the newest entry to the moto-obstacle, punishment simulator does play the same as the last: drive on a 2D plane and use only gas, breaks, and leaning to pass through a gauntlet of obstacles and jumps for medals. Only those who truly squeezed HD for all its juice will feel the near imperceptible changes made to bike control and driver strength--the last unlockable bike is much more squirrelly this time around, and any pressure on or damage to your driver almost instantly results in a fault--but the big changes to user track sharing and wholly new addition of multiplayer are a clear sign of evolutionary progress.
For whatever reason, public track sharing wasn’t in HD and tracks could only be shared with friends. Evolution corrects this grievous mistake and even goes an extra mile by organizing all the tracks by descriptive tags, difficulty, and similarity to others. Sure, the main game has plenty of tracks to bang around on, and they are visually imaginative, but for ace Trials players they will go pretty quick. User tracks are the only place you can find “Ninja” difficulty tracks (diabolically technical in almost every aspect), mindbending M.C. Escher landscapes, and more skill games. Those who make it past everything Red Lynx delivered will find a figurative shit-load of content to dig through for months and months to come.
Multiplayer is also great fun, but only when you’re doing a traditional couch competition. Calling the online laggy is being kind. And let’s face it, multiplayer isn’t quite as engaging when you can’t personally curse and rib the people you’re competing with. Online or not, there are two modes called Supercross and Trial. Supercross pits up to four players on the same track at the same time, and Trial puts every player on the same track, but not side by side. Personally, I favor Supercross for its same screen tension, but both are fitting additions to an already great single player game.
I still hope Red Lynx releases some DLC for Evolution to fill out the modest main track list, but user tracks will keep me playing even if they don’t. Without them, Evolution still would’ve been a good game. But the inclusion makes this simply one of the finest Live Arcade titles ever released.