Trials Evolution on Xbox LIVE Arcade (XBLA) has really set things buzzing in the gaming world, being yet another example of a simple concept done well that’s selling by the hundreds of thousands.
More than 100,000 copies sold, to be more specific, and that in the first day of its release. After all that activity the XBLA servers experienced some problems and Microsoft had to implement some new hardware to meet the demand for the game.
But why? What’s so special about Trials Evolution in the first place? And why are gamers flocking to get the title?
It all comes down to one simple dynamic: gameplay. Much like Angry Birds, or Minecraft, or a dozen other titles that have come from almost nowhere in recent years, Trials Evolution’s predecessor, Trials HD, was just plain old fun. Trials Evolution doesn’t mess with that gameplay in any way – it offers more fun, now with new (rather stunning) environments.
There’s no complex story here. No building a team, making choices, finding some romance, restoring the balance of power, kicking the dark Lord’s butt or changing history and setting the universe on a new trajectory. Here, instead, we don a helmet, get on a motorbike, and try to get over obstacles. And with Trials Evolution, we do it over tanks or while nuclear reactors are melting down or in a myriad of just plain fun environments.
It’s this kind of basic gameplay that makes a game like Trails Evolution a classic in the long run. I often still like to fire up Lemmings every now and again – I mean, it’s a basic concept that’s just so much fun to play (someone needs to do a remake of sorts with all this new indie game hype).
I like the way the UK Guardian’s Neil Davey puts it: “Like Angry Birds, there's a big daft sense of humour behind Trials Evolution. Very much like Angry Birds, the game has got that, 'I'll just have one more go...' quality that can swallow hours whole. And exactly like Angry Birds, it's a simple premise that only takes seconds to pick up.”
Trails Evolution also comes as a whole package, something that appears to be adding to its allure – you get Skill Games, where gamers need to perform different kinds of stunts, multiplayer and also an amazing track editor that just works. (It’s also the same tool RedLynx, the developer, used to make the game.) The editor even goes so far as to let you make your own games, much like with LittleBigPlanet 2, offering you even more (especially as that content begins to be shared).
As Gamesindustry.biz notes, Trials Evolution is just racking up the praise left, right and centre, with practically no critic able to find much wrong with the game. It’s earned the highest grossing day-sales in XBLA history and is enjoying its spot as one of Metacritic’s highest rated games. Good job Ubisoft, who snapped up the indie studio RedLynx last year and are clearly now enjoying the rewards.
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