The Summer of Arcade on XBox Live has hit a small snag. Instead of bringing fresh new games, three of the four out so far have been remakes or re-releases. As enjoyable as Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was a disappointment.
Now, the fourth game to be released on the Summer of Arcade is Trials HD, which may be the most awkward naming of an Arcade title yet (like when you download the demo of the game entitled “Trials HD Trial Game”), is also a remake but not of an arcade classic. Instead, Trials HD is simply an upgraded and updated version of a Flash game that has been floating around online for years that can be found here.
The basic premise, if you haven’t figured out from the name but don’t worry because it’s not exactly the most self-explanatory name around, is playing as a motocross biker in a series of time trials. These time trials vary in difficulty as the game progresses from Training, Easy, Medium, Hard and Extreme. You have to “love” the 90’s X-Games mentality of calling the hardest difficulty Extreme. The controls are simple. The right trigger accelerates, the left trigger stops and goes in reverse, and left or right on the analog stick controls if the player leans backwards or forwards.
When a player gets enough speed to jump a ramp, they must balance their rider on a 2D plane by leaning forward or backwards to land smoothly on whatever flat or inclined surface is below them. As players progress past various stunts, they will hit frequent checkpoints allowing players to continue close to their current stunt instead of going through the entire level. The faster a player completes a level with the fewest possible crashes determines if they score a Bronze, Silver or Gold Medal in the level. The higher the medal, the player will unlock new levels and bonus bikes. And that is the entire game in a nutshell.
As far as visuals, Trials HD looks beautiful. There are great 3D looking backgrounds and courses, even though players only move up, down, left or right. There are also great particle effects and explosions occurring all around the player, though they never really explain why other than for visual flair. It certainly doesn’t look like the flash game but unfortunately plays like one. The game has a few bugs as well.
One stand out example is when the player comes up short of a ledge on a jump just so the bike doesn’t reach it, but the rider’s face will. Instead of registering it as a crash, the player can balance on their face and try to lean forward or back to fall back down to the other ramp below them. The camera can be odd at times too like when a player builds up speed it takes a slight angle from behind the rider to give a more 3D look, even though it is still moving on a 2D plane.
While there is no problem with bringing Flash games over to XBox Live Arcade, the main argument comes against its price. $15 for a game that can be played online for free with some graphical upgrades, achievements and additional levels doesn’t seem worth it. Unlike an original IP like ‘Splosion Man or Shadow Complex, Trials HD is just a dressed up Flash game saying it is worth the same as an Arcade classic like Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
The fact that the gameplay has not changed from the Flash game by adding a third dimension in movement further proves this point. Even Excite Bike for the NES allowed players to move back and forth in to the foreground and background of a level. There is no reason this game shouldn’t have been able to do the same. Just like last week’s Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, this game is a pass.
Score: 5.5 – XBox Live Arcade – 1200 Microsoft Points ($15.00)