Trials HD is an Xbox Live Arcade game developed by RedLynx and published by Microsoft Game Studios It was released on August 12, 2009 as part of the second annual "Xbox Live Summer of Arcade." It is a 2.5D puzzle/racing game. The player must guide a motorcycle through various obstacles in a manner reminiscent of Elasto Mania. The original Trials and its sequels are popular flash games that can be played for free online.
The objective of the game is to get from the start of the level to the end through a number of obstacles as fast as possible and with as few crashes as possible. The player must balance and control their speed so that they do not fall. The game uses 3D graphics, but is played on a 2D plane, so the player can only move forwards, backwards, up or down, and cannot turn the bike. The simplistic control mechanism allows movement with the left joystick and the two triggers, left trigger for the brake and right trigger for acceleration.
Trials HD has a variety of tracks from five different difficulties ranging from beginner to extreme. There are a total of 35 tracks for the player to complete, with additional replay value coming from the player returning to complete each track in a faster time. "Tournament" mode sees the player attempt to complete a number of tracks in sequence, trying to achieve a fast overall time with minimal restarts, known in the game as "faults." The tracks used in Tournament mode are taken from all difficulties. There are four medals players can achieve based on their time and number of faults: bronze, silver, gold and platinum; platinum medals can only be unlocked through progress within the game.
When connected to Xbox Live, the player's friend with the highest-performing time is shown, so the player can continuously measure their progress against their friend with the nearest performance. The game includes a level editor that allows players to construct their own courses and share courses with other players in their friends list. Trials HD also has a leaderboard feature; for each track the fastest 5,000 times and completions will be able to be viewed as replays by everyone. During the replay the viewer has the chance to observe and learn how they could also complete a certain track in a faster time, as well as being able to see the movement of the high scorer's analog stick during the run. This feature is only available for individual tracks, and does not extent to the Tournament mode.
There are also a total of 12 skill games to demonstrate the capability of the player under different challenges. These include various challenges such as riding inside and on top of a large spherical cage, achieving as many flips as possible under a time limit, and hauling two large bombs as long a distance as possible without exploding due to impact. The skill games also share the same medal and leaderboard system as the race tracks, gaining higher medals from progressing with a better result for each track.
Development and marketing
RedLynx developed Trials HD using an in-house engine, and a modified version of Bullet Physics Library optimized to utilize the Xbox 360's CPU and vector units. RedLynx applied the physics system to give a realistic feel, but to maintain the enjoyment of a video game, they tweaked the physics to "bend the reality in just the proper way." Doing so was seen by RedLynx as a "crucial thing in making Trials such a fun and addictive game"
In September 2009 RedLynx announced that Trials HD would be getting downloadable content to expand the game. This downloadable content, the Trials HD Big Pack, was released on December 23, 2009. Featuring 23 new tracks, new objects for the game's built-in level creator and new achievements, the additional content can be bought from Xbox Live Marketplace for 400 Microsoft Points. A second piece of downloadable content was announced for Trials HD by RedLynx in July 2010.Trials HD Big Thrills Pack will feature 40 new tracks made by RedLynx, but unlike the previous DLC it will also feature 10 User made tracks. These 10 tracks are to be decided from entries to the Big Thrills Track Creation Competition.
Trials HD was generally well received by game critics. Review aggregation website Metacritic lists the game as having a favourable score of 86/100 based on averaging 51 critic reviews.
The game's leaderboards, especially the ability to have a view of where other players were at a certain time during a run, were widely praised. One of the game's primary criticisms given by critics was that it was at some points infuriating, GiantBomb for example said that they wished the "difficulty curve were a little smoother."
The website geeks.co.uk likened the game to 1980s game television series Kick Start, concluding "once you get to grips with the mechanics of the game and how the simple controls allow you to perform some truly outrageous stunts, you’ll be hooked". Trials HD is very similar to a video-game inspired by the Kick Start series called Kikstart, released for the Commodore 64 in 1985 by Mastertronic. The game was recently selected by XBLA users as the best XBLA game of 2009.
On September 14, 2010 RedLynx announced that Trials HD had surpassed one million units in sales.
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