The Trials series has always felt like the black sheep in the Ubisoft line-up. It keeps producing hit after hit, but it gets nowhere near the fanfare of some of the bigger games. Yet in 2018 the team is back to bring you a world of joy and this time you won’t only be depending on your own skill to perfect the game.
Trials Rising sees the return of the popular physics-based bike game that puts you in harm’s way as you tackle various obstacles on your way to the finish line. What made the series such a hit online for years is that it comes with an online leaderboard that is visibly displayed as you tackle any course whereby you get to see how other people on your friends list pull ahead or fall behind you. It’s just always been highly competitive with a tap of the B button instantly resetting your bike if you make a mistake – something that can drain hours from your life. Now there’s a new mode that’s about to become the next best thing in the series.
Tandem mode asks you and a friend to join forces as you both sit together on one bike to take on the various challenges at hand. It plays similar to the mode in Trackmania where you are both controlling one vehicle; it’s just that with Trials Rising you have to compete with tough physics challenges as well. Unlike the similar mode in Trackmania you can’t leave one player to control the vehicle as your input only adds 50% to what is unfolding on-screen in front of you – only by including the second player do you get 100% control of your bike. I teamed up with Pippa (Glitched) and to say our first few attempts ended up being a mess is an understatement.
Each track comes with a number of objectives to complete. For example, pull off three front and back flips on your way to the finish line. It sounds easy, which is the case if you’re playing it by yourself, but in tandem it’s tough. You’re constantly trying to over or under compensate your bike rotation to ensure that you land perfectly for the next ramp, which comes down to a game of balance and power. Whenever we pulled it off we had moments of pure joy and jubilation and once we beat the first track (and all its objectives) we were ready to take on whatever the game could throw at us. It’s fair to say that we got a little “windgat”. It got tougher.
Due to the increased physics difficulty, we saw several faceplants before finishing the following two available levels, but we persevered and there were high fives all round once we cracked the various objectives. As before you can kit your driver up with all forms of weird and wonderful outfits and helmets (or “helmets”) and you also now get to choose a winning pose. It’s great to see some good couch co-op coming back to the forefront of gaming, but I did ask the developers whether this will be included in an online mode and unfortunately, it’s not to be. Their reasoning for it is simple – slight lag would destroy a tandem race, and I agree. Each level we played required pinpoint accuracy to barely cross the finish line. Should you be out by a millisecond with your input online it’ll just become a frustrating mess.
In the E3 trailer, I also spotted a level with several lanes in it, alluding to 8-player online battles. The developers smiled when I mentioned it to them and said that it would be something they would discuss on another day. Looks like there is at least a new online mode on its way. Either way, Trials Rising was a lot of fun to play and that was purely the new Tandem mode. Once the game launches in February with all the various modes on offer we expect it to be as addictive as the series is renowned for.