Previews

Rev up, ride, and rise — Trials Rising preview

Motorcycle games have been incredibly popular over the years, starting with early games like Excitebike, and evolving into games like the Trials series. Entries in the Trials franchise combine the thrill of racing with the skill of balancing a bike. These games are easy to pick up but hard to master. Learning the nuances of how to play is one of the biggest draws to the franchise.

Trials Rising is the newest addition to the Trials franchise, and boy does it make an entrance. The game started off with a track full of explosions, fireworks, and an incredible soundtrack that pulls you in immediately. After completing this introduction, you’ll get an explanation of the game and be thrown to the map. From here, you can either start regular tracks or do some tutorials. I recommend the tutorials, aptly named “The University of Trials.” They are a great way for newcomers to learn the basics or for veterans to ease back into things.

There weren’t many locations to choose from to start, but as you complete tracks, you’ll unlock more. I’ve got to say, every time I entered a new track, I was excited. The variety in the level designs and their difficulties is amazing. Whether it’s speeding through an ever-changing movie set, rolling through a construction zone, or climbing up mountains, I was never left wanting more. The visuals were crisp, clear, and it was obvious how much love and hard work was put into creating everything. I even went back and played some of the levels multiple times in order to see how much better I could do. Depending on your completion time, you could get bronze, silver, or gold medals. There were also challenges and contracts that you could complete in order to earn even better rewards. For example, I had to complete some levels using only a regular bicycle.

During my time, I got to play plenty of levels in single player, global multiplayer, and the Tandem mode on the Nintendo Switch. Since the game isn’t out yet, the multiplayer consisted of everyone in the room hopping online and racing each other to see who could complete tracks the fastest. It got my blood pumping and made me want to do my best. We were told that the biggest aspects to consider with Trials were competition, community, and creativity. It was only for a short session, but the competition was fierce and engaging. There wasn’t any lag or connection issues, which was nice. As for the Tandem mode, it involves two players taking one JoyCon each, and working together to ride the same bike. It can be a bit tough to make sure you’re both on the same page, especially in a track you’ve never played before, but successfully finishing a track on the same bike is very rewarding. Both players can affect the team’s speed and which way they lean. So if you want to do a front flip, you better communicate that quickly in order to avoid a crash.

As you play, you’ll earn experience and level up. Leveling up will reward you with gear crates that you can open in order to unlock more customization options. Besides the crates, you can also spend in-game currency if you want to unlock specific items right away. Everything you obtain is purely cosmetic, so no worries about any competitive advantages. There are a lot of options, so go nuts. You can be funny and wear a clown head, look stylish in a shiny jacket, and much more. For those who like to show off a bit more, you can even choose victory poses and losing poses. My favorites were a wacky dance if I won and a mechanical “shutting down” motion for when I lost. These add some good laughs to the end of some challenging levels.

Now, I mentioned community and creativity before, which bring us to the level editor. This allows players to take components gathered from throughout the Trials games and combine them to create their own tracks. There are some cool areas you can start your groundwork at as well, and that’ll surely please fans of this series. One of the most intriguing parts of the editor is that it’s the same level editor that the developers use when making the game. That means that players will have access to the same tools as the people who made the game. What more could you want than that? I tested out some short levels that the team made in order to show off what the editor could do in a short time. If some really creative people get their hands on the editor and find the right flow, I’m sure there will be some incredibly spectacular levels being created by the community. Community levels in games are usually a blast, and Trials Rising seems to be aiming to encourage and promote that as much as possible. I know I’m looking forward to seeing what kinds of ideas people will come up with.

From my time with Trials Rising, it’s shaping up to be one heck of a motorcycle game. Trials Rising offers an entertaining and engaging challenge in both single player and multiplayer modes. If my time with the game has shown me anything, it’s that Trials Rising might become a must-have for fans of the franchise or anyone that has been considering giving it a try. Trials Rising is set to release February 26th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows.

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