|Engine||Bullet Physics Library|
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360
April 18, 2012
March 21, 2013
Trials Evolution is a downloadable 3D (it is often erroneously classed as a 2.5D game, however, it is a true 3D game but with a fixed camera) platform racing game developed by RedLynx and published by Microsoft Studios. Successor to 2009's critically acclaimed Trials HD, it was released for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade on April 18, 2012. Players control a motorcycle rider while traversing over obstacles. The game comes with the same editor the development team used to create the game's content, and users can create their own scenarios using it. On September 6, 2012 it was announced that a Microsoft Windows version of "Trials Evolution" would be released, with a copy of Trials HD bundled with it. The package, dubbed Trials Evolution: Gold Edition was released on March 21, 2013. It is the fourth game in the series.
Evolution received critical acclaim from media outlets. Aggregate website Metacritic reports a score of 90/100 while fellow aggregate site GameRankings reports a score of 91.58%. Reviewers praised the overall gameplay, challenge, visuals and editing abilities given to players. Some reviewers were critical of the game's soundtrack.
In Trials Evolution, the player controls a rider on a physics-based motorcycle from the start of the level to the end while navigating a number of obstacles. The objective is to complete the course as fast as possible and with as few crashes, known in the game as faults, as possible. The game uses 3D graphics, but is played on a 2D plane, so the rider can only move forwards and backwards. Players can also control the bike's pitch at slow speeds or while in the air.
Evolution includes a real-time multiplayer aspect that allows up to four players to compete simultaneously on the same console or over Xbox LIVE. Specialized tracks allow for four players to ride alongside one another, similar to Nintendo's Excitebike, while in others players complete in-line, with a player's friends appearing as ghost bikes on the course. As players progress through the single player portion of the game they will earn money that can be used to customize their rider and motorcycle's appearance. Another new addition to the gameplay is the line of movement can now curve, the controls will remain the same but the map and driving line can swerve to make for more creative and challenging maps. 50 single player tracks are included with the game. Players are able to track several statistics such as medals earned, money earned, and other stats. These can then be compared with their Xbox Live friends. Leaderboards are also included.
Players can also design and share their own maps utilizing the in-game editor. As with its predecessor, Trials HD, players are given the same editor that the developer used to create the game's levels. This time players are given two variants of the editor. The Lite Editor is similar to Trials HD 's in that players can create courses in a user-friendly manner. The game's Pro Editor provides full access to content creation; players can use not only the features of the Lite Editor, but can also use the game's visual programming language to create entirely different scenarios. Demonstrations of the Pro Editor showcased scenarios similar to popular games such as Angry Birds, 'Splosion Man, Marble Blast Ultra, Xevious and others. Additionally a first-person shooter and top-down perspective racing game were demonstrated. Weather and lighting conditions can be changed to allow for nighttime, dusk, foggy and other atmospheric settings.
Tracks can now be shared via an in-game interface. With Evolution's predecessor tracks could only be shared via those on a player's friends list, however players will now be able to browse through multiple categories such as Most Popular tracks and can also create a custom search. Over 1,500 objects are available to players to create their custom scenarios. Leaderboards will also be tracked for user-created environments. In Trials HD gameplay was restricted to a warehouse setting. In Evolution the setting is a two-by-four kilometer outdoor environment. While the game is set outdoors, players will be able to re-create warehouse-based courses if they desire. Jason Bates, Director of Marketing and PR at RedLynx stated that "we (RedLynx) expect people to recreate some of the classic levels".
Development and marketing
|“||The huge success of Trials HD made it possible for us to finally create the game of our dreams.||”|
With the game's predecessor, Trials HD, players expressed concerns with the rate at which the difficulty curve climbed. Developer RedLynx addressed this concern in Trials Evolution by placing tutorial levels in each of the game's difficulty tiers. Players are required to earn a certain number of medals before they can progress forward, ensuring that they will have the necessary skills to meet the challenge of future levels. The game engine was upgraded from the version used in Trials HD. Draw distance was increased, allowing for roughly 500 meters of visible area at any time. The game runs at a locked 60 frames per second. In Trials HD all in-game assets were loaded into system RAM at startup, but in Evolution designers chose to stream all content. This allowed for a much larger gameplay world, higher resolution textures, and more objects to be used in-game. A new visual scripting system was also implemented. This allowed both RedLynx and community to create entirely new skill games; in Trials HD the skill game code was part of the game's core. As with its predecessor, Trials Evolution uses an optimized version of the Bullet Physics Library to handle the game's physics. RedLynx's Sebastian Aaltonen stated that feedback from players and Trials HD's high sales allowed RedLynx to make the game they had aimed to create. The soundtrack was penned by Mike Reagan, who had previously worked on the God of War series. The voice work for the game was done by three Pennsylvanian voice actors: Art Webb, Rake Yohn and Brandon DiCamillo of Jackass fame.
Trials Evolution was announced at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2011. It was shown to the press and public at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime 2011 and Gamescom 2011. It was also shown at Game Developer's Conference (GDC) 2012 as well as to public at PAX East 2012. In March 2012, Microsoft announced that Xbox Live Arcade titles would soon have double the gamerscore, a new total of 400 points. Microsoft created an promotion known as Arcade Next to further publicize this change which would run from April 18, 2012 to May 9, 2012. Trials Evolution was selected to be the first release with a date of April 18, 2012 and was joined by Bloodforge, Fable Heroes and Minecraft in the promotion.
Alternate reality game
The game contains various hidden or cryptic content that has formed a massive and ongoing alternate reality game. Players discovered random letters throughout the game world that when combined and deciphered revealed instructions to perform a stunt a certain way in the Scorpion motorcycle while playing the Nature Calls music track. When this action was completed, a secret song with "bizarre lyrics" was played. Spectral analysis of the song's waveform revealed Morse code, and analysis of the rest of the game's music in the same fashion revealed the URL www.fixedpatternencodes.com. The website then started to update with images that represented letters in the alphabet; for example, a picture of an an apple falling from a tree, commonly associated with Isaac Newton, represented the letter N.
Trials Evolution received universal acclaim from critics. It holds an aggregate score of 91.58% at GameRankings, and fellow aggregate website Metacritic reports a score of 90/100. The game received five perfect scores: Joystiq's Ben Gilbert, Digital Spy's Liam Martin, Brad Shoemaker of Giant Bomb, Gameblog.fr's reviewer as well as Gamereactor Sweden's Jonas Elfving. The lowest score of an 80% approval rating came from three reviewers: Neil Davey of Guardian.co.uk, Ryan Rigney of Wired magazine, and a staff member from Official Xbox Magazine UK. The game sold an estimated 100,000 units in its first day. It was the highest selling day-one release on Xbox Live Arcade until the release of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition three weeks later.
Ryan McCaffrey of Official Xbox Magazine praised the game's overall appeal. He cited the game's visuals, core gameplay, multiplayer, track editor and replay factor all as high points. He stated that "Trials Evolution is as close to a perfect download as we’re ever likely to get." He did note, however that the game's soundtrack may not appeal to all players, a statement to which Game Informer's Dan Ryckert and IGN's Daemon Hatfield agreed. Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer cited the fact that all the game's levels were created using the same editor currently in the game, a point to which he gave high marks.
The reviewer from Official Xbox Magazine UK praised the inclusion of multiplayer, improved visuals and a better sense of progression. The reviewer cited the fact that license tests must be passed to unlock additional tracks helped player progression. The critic from Edge magazine called Trials Evolution "the deepest online experience in XBLA history." The reviewer stated that it built upon the footing of its predecessor, Trials HD, citing the evolution in gameplay similar to Dark Souls's evolution of Demon's Souls. The critic felt that the new skill games weren't imaginative enough, but conceded that the editing tools are powerful enough to create more robust games.
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