If you own an Xbox 360, one of the Xbox Live Arcade games that is almost a must to have installed on your hard drive is Trials HD. Since its release the game has become one of the most popular games on XBLA, and for good reason. It’s one of the most addicting games you can spend your MS points on while also being one of the most frustrating (but in a good way) to master.
The basic idea of Trials is you’re a motocross rider trying to navigate more and more dangerous obstacle courses. It sounds easy, but thanks to the games’ inertia and physics; it becomes a game that’s relatively easy to learn but very difficult to master. That’s where Trials HD’s charm lies and why it’s such a popular game on XBLA. Every time you think you’ve mastered a level, one of your friends will out-do you and you’ll have to go right back in and get better.
This mastery comes in the fine tuning of your rider’s movement. The controls are basic, you can lean forward or backwards to adjust the trajectory of your bike, and in doing so that’s how you avoid obstacles, land correctly, and get through the track with the fastest time. However, it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. The slightest miscalculation on your part can send you into a wipeout. You need to be gentle in your adjustments, and over time you’ll find the sweet spot to land from each jump angle.
I mentioned competition with your friends, and Trials HD handles this excellently. In each level you’ll see a tracker at the top of the screen to show you how your progress (time) compares to your friends who also have the game. That immediately translates to the leader boards, and there’s no greater motivation to do better in a game than some friendly competition and bragging rights.
Trials HD received on DLC pack in the past that included about twenty-five maps. Big Thrills is the latest DLC and it gives you a whopping forty new maps, of which ten were created by users in a challenge the developers put on. There are also three new achievements with 50 more gamerscore for the Achievement Whores out there. And the whole thing clocks in at just 400 MS points. For $5 you get a nice sized expansion for one of the best XBLA games.
If you already have Trials HD on your 360, 400 MS points for forty new levels is a great deal and you should go download the new pack right now. If you don’t have Trials HD, it’s one of the XBLA games you should be playing.
Final Score: 5 out of 5.