trials and exhortations

Mon Aug-17th-2009 // Filed under: Games

Trials HD by RedLynx came out on Xbox Live Arcade last week, and there’s a pretty healthy selection of reviews available by now, almost all of which are very favorable. I worked on the game, so obviously it’s very nice to see people groovin’ on it.

The thing about the game is that there’s a kind of a disconnect between what you see in some of the videos and how you actually play the game. I mean, I know guys who can play Trials HD exactly like that, riding through incredibly convoluted tracks at breakneck speeds without crashing once. But that’s not the experience for the vast majority of players. Most of us are engaged in a grueling process of trial and error once we get past the initial tracks: I’ve often joked that it’s a game where you try to ride a motorcycle as slowly as possible. It’s about control, not speed.

The magic of Trials is that even though it should be really fucking frustrating, most of the time it isn’t. I’m not quite sure why: in any other game the mere idea of trying something fifty times in a row is enough to make me want to throw the controller through a wall, but in Trials it’s business as usual. A big part of it is that there’s no delay between the decision to try again and the act of doing so, but there’s more to it than that: there’s something about the gameplay that’s rewarding even when you keep screwing up.

I know a lot of people are complaining about how you can only share tracks between people on your friends list — every review out there brings this up, pretty much. Without going into the details, let’s just say that there’s a reason it’s like that, and it’s not because we thought it was the best or most user-friendly way to do it, or indeed how we would’ve preferred to do it. It’s just how it has to be.

Anyway. It’s out now, and I’m glad to see it’s being received so well — and glad to have worked on it. I should probably add that my contribution, though by no means insubstantial, isn’t anywhere near as significant as many others’; they did a really good job on it. In all honesty I think it’s probably the best-looking XBLA title out right now. It may not enjoy that distinction for long, what with the awesome-looking Shadow Complex coming out in a couple of days, but right now I’ll stand by that statement. Even when that comes out, I kind of doubt its gameplay has been perfected to the degree it is in Trials HD — to the extent these things are comparable, anyway. Of course, Trials HD does have the advantage of this being the umpteenth iteration of the same concept. That’s a lot of product development and playtesting right there, and I think it’s really paying off.

Biased as I am, you should still go and buy it. That’s right, you heard me, you bastards! Consume.

I command you.

1 Comment

  1. I would consume if the game would be available on my systems.

    Lately I’ve been spending money on the Wii virtual console. I’m not sure if R-Type is a good game, but I never got to play it much when it was new…

    Comment by Pare — August 18, 2009 @ 1250620059

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