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Video Game / Trials

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How hard can it be?
Trials is a series of videogames made by Finnish company RedLynx based on the sport of, well, trial. Your goal is to ride your bike from point A to point B in a 2D track, which is everything but plain and straight. Has several releases:

  • Trials Basic (Java)
  • Trials Pro (Java)
  • Trials Construction Set (PC)
  • Trials Mountain Heights (PC)
  • Trials HD (XBLA)
  • Trials 2: Second Edition (PC)
  • Trials Evolution (XBLA)
  • Trials Fusion (PS4/XBLA/PC)
  • Trials Frontier (iOS/Android)
  • Trials of the Blood Dragon (PS4/XBLA/Windows)
  • Trials Rising (PS4/Xbox One/Windows/Nintendo Switch)
The games used to be published by Xbox Game Studios, but ever since Fusion, they've instead been published by Ubisoft.

Tropes that appear in these games:

  • 2½D: Every game from Trials HD onward displays courses in 3D on a 2D plane. Evolution takes this up to eleven as the 2D track itself can turn left or right, but the player is still restricted to the plane of the track.
  • Air-Aided Acrobatics: Certain levels in Trials HD feature fans that levitate the player. One level in Trials Evolution features pipes that shoot a burst of water/air and launch the player.
  • Alternate Reality Game: Both Trials and Evolution had two of the most complex ARGs out there, with the latter having a solution that will only be revealed in 2113, 100 years after the game's release.
  • Automatic New Game: Trials Rising enters a showcase stage on a new game, before the character creation process.
  • Character Customization: Present from HD onwards. Players can unlock different clothes and cosmetic equipment. Previous games also allowed the player limited color customization.
  • Checkpoint: Each level features many check points, usually placed right after a difficult segment.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Good thing it's present, or multiplayer matches would be more confusing than they have to be.
  • Cyberpunk: The theme in play during Trials Fusion, where-in the player is in a future full of corporate saturation, voices from AI, and a shady motorbike rider testing program in an attempt to discover the fusion between man and machine.
  • Difficulty Levels: In Trials HD, tracks are rated Beginner, Easy, Medium, Hard or Extreme. The fan-created Ninja dificulty, one step above extreme, is an official tag, and would later be used in Trials Rising as an official difficulty marker for some secret, extra-difficult courses.
  • Exploding Barrels: Oh, are they aplenty.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Bikes, in some cases, will explode with little provocation.
  • Everything Explodes Ending: Trials Evolution features the player humorously exploding in some way at the end of nearly every track.
  • Fake Difficulty: Averted. All the tracks are possible using the correct bike. Still, some are quite tricky...
  • Floating Platforms: Certain levels (such as the "dream" level in Trials HD) still feature them. The player can also create floating platforms in the Level Editor; there's no requirement that they be supported.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: The Xbox exclusive Awesome Adventure DLC in Fusion has the rider turn into Microsoft's unofficial mascot Ninja Cat who rides a fire breathing unicorn instead of a bike. Rule of Cool and Rule of Cute are very much in effect.
  • Interface Screw: Fusion has some challenges which task you to complete the level from a behind view, while the controls are still left-to-right.
  • Joke Vehicle: The Donkey. It's a minibike, and while it does boast some fairly decent speed, it's very bottom-heavy, meaning it's difficult to even accelerate the damn thing and move forward without flipping the bike over backwards and crashing. Naturally, many difficult challenges throughout the series involve beating entire levels using the Donkey.
  • Kaizo Trap: Double subverted. You win if you cross the finish line on both wheels no matter what, but on some courses in HD (and damn near all of them in Evolution) your rider is unceremoniously destroyed, maimed, or tortured once he clears the stage.
  • Level Editor: Trials HD includes one, and Trials Evolution added a major upgrade that includes the ability to curve tracks, a 3D open sandbox, and its own visual scripting system.
  • Nintendo Hard: The Extreme tracks. The less said about Inferno, the better...
  • No-Damage Run: Most of the gold medals earned in Trials Evolution requires you to beat tracks as quickly as possible without crashing once. Later on, harder tracks will give you greater room for error to earn the gold medal, where the no-fault requirement then goes to the platinum medal.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: There's no story or definite characters; it's just you, a bike, and a whole lot of obstacle courses. Until Fusion, where there's some creepy goings-on in the background.
  • Not the Intended Use: The level editor in Evolution and later games are sufficiently powerful enough that one could even make a whole new game such as a first-person shooter or a Minecraft clone.
  • Oddball in the Series: Trials of the Blood Dragon, a crossover title with Far Cry 3's futurewave action expension Blood Dragon. There are still some Trials-esque biking courses... mixed in with on-foot shooting sections and all other sorts of zany over-the-top action set-pieces and Unexpected Gameplay Changes.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: On certain tracks, at the very start, the player can find little Easter Eggs if they go backward instead of forward.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you own Trials HD (and have unlocked achievements in it), you can get 2 shirts and a secret bike in Evolution.
  • Platform Game: While the game is mostly about riding from point a to point b, there are often elements of platforming. Some sections require skillful use of balancing and throttle control to bunny hop from one platform to the next, and others may involve the player having to ride half-way up a loop and then land backward on a suspended platform. Trials Evolution also features some track elements that swing, move, or are generally unstable.
  • Press X to Die: In HD and Evolution, the Y/Triangle button instantly throws the rider off of your bike. This is actually used often in some of the bonus minigames, such as the Ski Jump from HD.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Prepare to be graced with one of these every time you start up Trials Evolution.
  • Ragdoll Physics: From Trials HD onward, whenever the player crashes.
  • Scripted Event: Some of the more fanciful tracks have elaborate scripted events that trigger when the player passes a certain point.
  • Sequel Escalation: Evolution, a whole lot. Locales have been shifted from riding through a generic warehouse to storming the beaches of Normandy, among other things, and local and online multiplayer modes were also implemented. The level editor is also the most expansive yet, giving you up to 3 vast landscapes to work with and development tools that rival LittleBigPlanet in sheer depth.
  • Side View: Averted. Though the gameplay is 2D, and the view is always from the side, the camera occasionally will dynamically swing around or will rotate slightly at certain points in the track, such as if the player is making a huge jump or outrunning an explosion.
  • Slapstick: In Rising, crossing the finish line usually has the motorcyclist crash into something. This can include an oil derrick followed by the horse head of the derrick slamming into the cyclist, or an ambulance backing into the cyclist's finish zone.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: The game features fairly realistic physics, such that the player can easily hop their bike around with the right combination of balancing and throttle, and landing wrong on a ramp might cause the player to bounce wrong and slow way down (or crash). Trials Evolution also added many new track elements that can bounce players, such as pistons and logs bobbing in water.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In ludicrous amounts. Many tracks have explosive barrels or TNT in certain areas that the player must avoid.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: The rider is almost always killed after he completes a track in HD and Evolution, but once you start the next race, he's back on his bike as if nothing happened at all.
  • Throwback Threads: The original rider's clothing from HD makes several reappearances as unlockable duds in most of the Trials games down the line.
  • Time Trial: Each track has a certain time you must beat in order to win a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal. Also, how players are tracked to see how they stack up against each other.
  • Totally Radical: Trials HD and Evolution intentionally play up the "extreme" aspect of the game. Trials HD begins with over-the-top rock music and an announcer with a rock star voice spouting stereotypically "extreme" statements. Evolution begins with the same announcer rapping.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Particularly difficult tracks run into this; unless the player gets extremely lucky, completing a track fully, without any faults (crashes) can require many replays.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Some of the skill games. One has you commanding a Flying Saucer, while another is essentially a Mad Marble Maze.
  • Vent Physics: It helps with pulling off Air-Aided Acrobatics.