Trials HD: Big Thrills • Page 2

Motorcycle emptiness?

There's just one new track in the Beginner category, Ode to Joy, a zoomed-out race through a dusky warehouse, full of wide-angle ramps that build speed easily and invite mistakes because of it. The Easy category scores eight new tracks, from Daredevil, a joyous pastiche of Joe Danger-esque jumps through fire rings and scrambles over abandoned cars and rusty cargo crates, to Bouncy Castle, which requires you to lean forward and duck under low set barriers in order to avoid breaking your rider's neck.

Medium mode has 13 new tracks, while Hard gains 15 tracks and Expert, for those players with prescient twitch abilities, gains three new entries to sit alongside the vanilla game's four. The new tracks are also bundled into six new tournaments, in which you play through a series of courses, your time aggregating across each until you reach its conclusion.

This is, of course, largely more of the same. There are few, if any, new assets on display here, courses instead constructed from the building blocks found throughout the game and its previous add-on. Nonetheless, each track is beautifully designed, and has clearly been playtested to death. For experts, the thrill will be in repeating tracks while clawing your way up leaderboards; for everyone else, it'll be a case of dashing from each safe-haven checkpoint to the next, hoping that you can make it to the finish line to secure a bronze medal for your efforts.

40 tracks for 400 Microsoft Points works out at a delicious £0.09 per level, and for players who have exhausted Trials HD's content to date, the add-on offers brilliant value for money – especially as its popularity has already ensured that the leaderboards are jammed with keen competition.

Indeed, Trials HD's efficient ghost data representation of your rival friends' performances as you race through a stage remains as compelling as ever, as you keep one eye on your own rider and the other on the meter showing where your closest competitor is. It's one of contemporary gaming's most enthralling readouts, and its appeal hasn't diminished at all in the past 18 months.

Once again, then, RedLynx is to be praised for its purist approach to game design, one that plays to the unique strengths of the medium. If you've worked hard to learn your Trials HD skills, Big Thrills offers a new set of challenges on which to refresh your muscle memory and develop your abilities yet further. Meanwhile, it serves as a sharp reminder that, regardless of how pointless the skills are that some videogames imprint upon our minds and hands, some of life's biggest thrills are to be found in their mastery.

8 /10

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About the author

Simon Parkin

Simon Parkin

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Simon Parkin is an award-winning writer and journalist from England, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Guardian and a variety of other publications.

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