The year is 2042. A lone rider must use his uncanny leaning abilities to traverse impossible terrain in order to um… win, or something.
Trials Fusion is a physics based motocross game. You control a rider in a 3D world on a 2D plane that has to navigate tricky obstacles to reach the end of each track. Other than controlling the bikes acceleration and breaking, you decide how the rider shifts his weight as he motors through each track. It’s a simple idea but it’s executed very well.
Its music is absurd. It’s easily the most memorable part of the game. Not due to any fault in gameplay, the main track is just so annoyingly catchy. It plays on a loop when in any menus wailing, “Welcome to the future! Man, machine, the future!” It could easily be mistaken for a lonely island song. In fact it sounds a lot like “Space Olympics” with its ridiculous lyrics and repetitive, spacey drum and bass rhythm. I know it sounds crazy, but second to gameplay it really is the most important thing about the game. I still can’t decide if I love it or hate it; my opinion changes every thirty seconds.
Actually I hate it.
Or do I? No, I definitely love it.
Trials Fusion starts out exceptionally easy. The early tracks are laughable and before long your palms will be getting clammy with all the constant hand-holding the game provides. This doesn’t last. It’s not a huge game but it gets hard quickly, making the overall clear time longer then expected. Tracks are grouped by difficulty and as you go on things get harder.
The difficulty curve closely reflects the treacherous later tracks, almost vertical. The jump in difficulty from medium to hard is massive. At first I thought it was just unplayable but after more practice than I care to admit I started making progress. I felt really stupid being so dismayed at in the hard levels once I finished the game and unlocked the extreme tracks. This is how I found out that tracks have a 30-minuet time limit, earning me my first “epic fail”. It’s not all bad though as the insane tracks give a huge sense of accomplishment after being completed.
Trials Fusion, or the freestyle motocross event of the space Olympics as I came to think of offers a lot for completionists. What would any Olympics, from Sydney to Saturn be without medals? As disappointing as Sochi room service obviously so it’s a good thing gold, silver, bronze and eventually platinum medals are you ultimate goal in Trials Fusion. Amassing medals will help you gain access to more levels.
Each track has three challenges and they are usually very tough. Some are easy, like do 10 flips without crashing. Some are crazy, like don’t let your front wheel touch certain parts of the map. There are a lot of things hidden in the game you wouldn’t notice without the challenges tipping you off. Like secret afterburners that make your bike fly and hidden mazes and riddles to solve.
There is even a hint of a story to Trials Fusion. SynDI and George are the only characters other than the rider, if you don’t count the squirrels you have to try and find in the tracks. They will both speak to you over the PA system and offer advice, hints and the occasional nonsensical jargon. It’s all just a little too GLaDOS but its not all that important in the game so it gets a pass for being unoriginal.
If you are really interested in the narrative behind a motocross physics game and find yourself wanting more, fear not. There is a snippet of text at the end of the credits with some vague details about an anomaly from Saturn. If you don’t have the patience to endure the absolute longest credit roll I have ever seen, you can just fast-forward it with the left stick in the options menu. Its worth a look because its so funny but doesn’t really add anything to the game.
A good track editor is a lot of fun and making tracks for other people to play online is a welcome feature. This is good and bad. The controls are so frustrating I found myself using this feature less than I wanted to. The camera causes most of the problems. Navigating a 3D world on a 2D plane can be confusing especially when you have little control over your view. With a little patience I found the tack editor incredible powerful. Its worth the frustration to create new custom tracks to flood the Internet with making the potential game huge.
The inclusion of skill games and FMX tracks help to break up the gameplay a little and keep it fresh over the life of the career mode. Skill games are varied; do a wheelie for as long as possible or bail out at the top of a jump and try and extend your record. The FMX tracks use the new inclusion of freestyle motocross stunts and work on a points system.
The multiplayer is disappointing at best. Its nice to see some four player couch co-op but the only thing on offer is a best of seven racing game that gets old fast.
While the extra features are a let down the main game offers more than enough to keep players happy. Considering the potential free extra tracks on offer from other players and the impressive amount of extras hidden in the main tracks the replay value is huge. Even without DLC I’m sure I will be playing this one for a long time to come.
Review: Trials Fusion