Review: Trials Fusion (Xbox One)

Posted on October 2, 2017

Trials Fusion is the standout sleeper hit of the Game Truck. We originally acquired copies of it to get some sort of cycling-related game for the Tour Down Under last year but it has been way more popular and successful than we ever imagined. It’s a really great opportunity to use the Game Truck to introduce players to a game they have often never heard of, especially when it works so well in the split-screen co-operative modes that are best for the Truck.

The gameplay of Trials is quite simple, making it really accessible for players of all ages. You control a motorbike (or BMX, or, um, cat with a golden gun riding a unicorn) across a side-scrolling screen with jumps, dips, and all kinds of obstacles. One button controls acceleration, and a joystick makes your rider lean left and right. The main challenge is to land all your jumps, and you can also do tricks as well in the more advanced single player version of the game.

Simple as it is, it’s incredibly fun, mostly due to a lot of playfulness in the design. The unicorn is a very popular option: its legs flail frantically to keep up with the motorbikes, and even when you crash or otherwise fall off the bike, the game is still a lot of fun. The rag-doll physics of the rider make such accidents quite comical, and a dismount move with the Y button allows you to jump off the bike at crucial times – say, the top of a jump. Small touches like crashing into a wall or falling off a cliff at the end of every race add to the overall sense of playfulness and fun in the game.

The standout design element, though, is in the split screen multiplayer. Like all our favourite Game Truck offerings, Trials allows up to four players to play at once on the same screen: each player gets points for the fewest defaults or crashes. It’s really not very competitive though – it’s all about the gameplay, and epic fails are part of the fun, so that even if you lose you still have a really great time. Up to four players pass through various checkpoints, but the genius is that not all players have to make it through each checkpoint for the game to progress: only one rider needs to pass the checkpoint and the players who have crashed respawn there. This means that the game continues to flow even when there are several players who don’t have a high level of skill, which is often the case with kids’ birthday parties.

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Trials is such great fun and perfect for a Game Truck birthday party experience that it has become a staple offering in the Truck. It’s rated PG for violence with ‘mild impact’ and notes dangerous stunts (don’t try this at home kids!) and the usual warning about the gaming experience changing online. This seems a particularly conservative classification though – it’s as if the Board couldn’t possibly allow it to be G rated especially given the online experience, which of course we don’t have in the truck. It’s playable by kids as young as 5 or 6 and while they may get a bit competitive and fairly excitable and vocal while playing, this is easily managed with the kind of supervision we offer during parties. We’ve never had any parents voice concerns about the age-appropriateness of Trials for kids of any age.

All up, Trials Fusion is a game that we can’t recommend highly enough. It’s really a great offering for kids’ parties in the Game Truck; it’s good for both singleplayer and multiplayer, online and offline, and has remarkably strong replayability. It’s also super affordable – you should be able to pick up a copy for $20-$25 online or in-store. Even if you don’t get a copy, you might get lucky to see it played in a Game Truck party near you!

– Chad

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