Title: Trials Rising
Developer: Ubisoft RedLynx
Genre: Arcade, Racing
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 26/02/2019
Price: £19.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Explore over-the-top action and physics-bending motorcycle racing in the latest opus of the Trials franchise. All new features, more competitions and more tracks means new challenges.
Ride challenging tracks around the world – from the Great Wall of China and New York City to the Eiffel Tower and everywhere in between.
With the new hilarious Tandem Bike, get your friends and try to control one bike with two riders.
From your local backyard to worldwide stadiums, defeat all your opponents online and rise to glory.
Create and share unique levels in Track Central using over 10,000 items available. Possibilities are endless – and so is the fun.
I have been a fan of the Trials games since the first was released on Xbox Live Arcade. I felt the series peaked with Evolution and, unfortunately, couldn’t keep its momentum going into Fusion (and a lesser part Frontier, the mobile version that was littered with predatory microtransactions). Can Ubisoft bring the series back to its triumphant heights of HD and Evolution?
Looks and Sounds
While the previous games in the series haven’t exactly pushed its respective hardware platform to its limit, as they are not the most graphically intensive games, while Fusion looks gorgeous on other platforms, like the PS4 and Xbox One, the Switch version very much suffers from a graphical downgrade. While not the worst looking game in the world, you can tell that Red Lynx tried their very best to make each version a 1:1 port.
Due to the Switch not having the same hardware capabilities as these respective platforms, the game often suffers from some unusual moments, such as riders going through tracks when you crash, certain parts of the environment not loading in. The biggest problem was whenever you start a level, and it can take a fair few seconds to load up the course, leaving you to look at the rider and unable to see what’s ahead until you are literally about to start the level. Added on top the fact that most courses don’t allow you to see much of what’s ahead, due to the Switch version having grey fog to ensure the game runs at optimum levels.
While it isn’t the worst thing in the world, you can see that the performance is geared towards the more powerful consoles of the generation, often suffering from a few frame rate dips at times. The game does usually run at a solid 30 frames per second, but the frame rate dips have caused me to crash very close to the end of a particularly challenging course. This can be especially frustrating when you are trying hard to get the best ranking possible and obtain those gold medals.
Gameplay and Replayability
For those of you who haven’t played, or even heard of the Trials games, they are very simplistic in concept, and the very epitome of a game that’s ‘easy to learn, hard to master’. The core concept is: you are a stunt rider on an optimised motorcycle, built for serious jumps and difficult obstacles to make your way past, all set along different areas from around the globe, encompassing different track designs such as factories, movie sets and so on. The core gameplay has mostly stayed the same since the original game, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. Controls are very minimal, with ZR being used to accelerate, ZL for braking and the left stick to control the rider’s lean.
The simplistic nature of the core gameplay makes it a straightforward game to pick and play. With the fact that I reviewed the Switch version of the game, this made the game very enjoyable, as whenever I had a journey on public transport or even just 10 to 15 minutes to kill before having to do something else. Ubisoft and Red Lynx have managed to make a compact game full of fun and exciting course designs that can be very easily digested, without having the problem of having to remember where you left off previously, with the switch’s ability to be able to suspend games and pick it back up again at home being a key feature. This is the first time the series has made its way to a Nintendo platform, and it’s a game that feels like it was designed with this feature firmly in mind.
The gameplay is indeed where the game holds its own. The course designs are some of the most inventive that the series has seen yet, in addition to adding a dynamic camera that freely changes the perspective from mostly 2.5D to dynamic 3D spaces. The first time I saw one of these, I had a massive smile on my face. Each game in the series has always topped the last with its course design, and Fusion is no different. It is, without a doubt, the most inventive and creative part of the game.
There is a fair amount of online integration in Rising, with most courses, even in the single player, matches you up with other riders from across the globe. While playing the single player, in an offline setting, the game will give you various weird named AI’s to challenge. These are mainly just times and don’t offer much of a challenge. However, having the AI ghosts racing along the track with you is a very welcome addition that makes challenging for the best time possible all the more easy to see, as previous games have had a countdown timer ticking away in the HUD. The online system works similarly to the AI times, as it will choose random people from across the Internet and load in their ghosts from when they played the courses. I found this to be very interesting, but it is not the key aspect of their online offering.
The most fun part is loading up courses you may have already played and challenging foes from around the world. Unfortunately, the net code during these races is where the game suffers the most. Admittedly, Nintendo’s online infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired, but Ubisoft and Red Lynx has precisely done anything to cater the service to the Switch and seems that the online was design solely for PSN and Xbox Live, leaving the Switch version with a net code that feels underdeveloped and fairly disappointing.
Game modes and miscellaneous
Trials Rising doesn’t have that much in terms of variety in game modes, with the game being focused on the single player to unlock the tracks to be able to play again in the online mode. However, the best mode by far was the Track Editor. While I am not the most inventive person around when it comes to design tracks, the offerings from people online are out of this world, and can often be more interesting in design than the offerings by Red Lynx. I believe that the track editor and the ability to share these creations with anybody, will be the reason why most will come back to keep playing this game.
While the majority of my playthrough was fairly standard, the mere presence of Micro Transactions and Loot boxes left a foul taste in my mouth. While these are not the most predatory use of Micro Transactions, with the game allowing you to unlock most things with in-game currency, the grind you have to go through to unlock some unique and rare items, becomes a massive frustration, when there is quite a focus on character and bike customisations.
Trials Rising is an excellent offering in this series, is a vast improvement over the previous game, with unique and very inventive course design and relatively lengthy single-player offering the most enjoyment. However, the excellent single-player offering is hampered by performance issues, evident visual downgrading, intrusive microtransactions and a net code that is severely lacking. However, the name of the game is to have fun, and that is precisely what I had.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Trials Rising at the Nintendo eShop at the following link,