(PlayStation 4)

Trials Fusion (PlayStation 4)

Game Review

Trials Fusion Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Mat Growcott

Motorcycle menagerie

There aren’t nearly enough motorcycle games that let you play a round of tennis with a penguin, of that we can all agree. Alas, until some clever publisher transforms the concept into a yearly franchise with a pricey season pass, Trials Fusion will have to do. Not only does it boast squirrels and black-and-white birds, but it’s also one of the most flipping awesome games on the PlayStation 4. ‘Flipping’ because, well, it’s a physics-based platform game, and ‘awesome’ because it’s a really good physics-based platform game.

There aren’t many titles on the scale of RedLynx’s signature series that marry both an addictive gameplay mechanic with an almost endless amount of content with which to enjoy it. Most developers focus on one or the other: a laughably short release that starts brilliantly but never builds to its potential, or a staggeringly long one that becomes repetitive and dull quickly. They could all learn a lot from Fusion, and the Finnish outfit behind it.

Completing a trial is as easy as navigating a bike from its starting point through to the finishing line, but the game’s main boss – also known as gravity – is ready to thwart you at every turn. Just like in real life, you’ll be constantly pulled towards the ground regardless of the amount of happy thoughts that you focus on. The aim of the game is to deftly avoid crashing into obstacles across a wide variety of 2D environments – although you’ll probably spend a large chunk of your time cursing Isaac Newton for inventing the laws of physics in the first place.

By shifting the rider’s weight, you’ll subtly alter the way that your bike moves through the air, and how it’ll land when you come back into contact with the track. Will your bike gracefully speed towards the next obstacle, or will it burst into flames, breaking your body in places that you didn’t even existed as part of the process? The latter is far more likely, especially in the later levels, and you’ll need extreme precision and a high degree of muscle memory if you want to rank on the leaderboards.

The early trials won’t really cause too much in the way of stress, but they’re an important part of the learning process. They’re hard enough that you can still very easily make mistakes, but forgiving enough that you’ll be given the chance to learn from them. This, however, quickly changes. As you unlock faster bikes and hard courses, you’ll need to find a perfect balance if you want to see a level through to its conclusion without any fatalities.

There are dozens of stages across multiple difficulties (as well as a level editor), but the fun doesn’t stop there – in fact, that’s quite the opposite. Simply finishing the base trials will take you around six to seven hours, but it’s the leaderboards that will keep you coming back. If you have friends that own the game – and you should make some if you don’t – you’ll be accompanied by ghosts that will appear as you race. This will give you plenty of incentive to go back time and time again, as you all incrementally improve on each others’ scores.

There are also challenges on each level. These give you additional objectives to complete, whether it be flipping your bike a certain number of times or finding a specific Easter egg, adding variety to the experience that extends beyond the core vehicular action. Moreover, they guide you towards the many secrets stashed in the release – an asset that was often overlooked in previous Trials games by all but the biggest fans.

Suffice to say, then, this is arguably one of the wackiest driving games since 1997’s excellent Diddy Kong Racing. However, this still isn’t an out-and-out racer, as it has more in common with the likes of LittleBigPlanet than it does MotoGP. Timing and positioning is of the utmost importance, and going fast isn’t ever going to be your only focus.

Alas, when you’re not struggling with steep hills and impossible drops, you’ll have the chance to check out the title’s environments. Fusion is a beautiful game, although it doesn’t always want you to know it. Some levels – especially those indoors – have an almost plastic sheen that a look a little ‘gamey’. There are still some interesting lightning effects, and the way that things move around as your drive is impressive, but you won’t always be blown away. Then you’ll find yourself in the middle of a snow storm, a lush jungle, or a desert oasis, and your jaw will hit the flaw. Little things – like particles of snow or lens flare – go a long way towards demonstrating just how gorgeous these select environments really are.

And if you’re not impressed by showy things, you should at least be able to respect that the game runs at 1080p and never dips below its silky smooth 60 frames-per-second – no matter what’s falling apart or blowing up around you. The audio holds up well, too, offering a soundtrack that – while not something that you’d likely listen to outside of the game – serves as a great accompaniment to the action. There are even Portal-esque AIs that will entertain you with bits of story and some great jokes while you play.

These can, of course, become an issue at times. As the game is designed around constantly replaying the same levels, you’ll get tired of hearing those one-liners over and over. As fun as some of the samples are, they do wear out their welcome on the – and we’re not exaggerating here – 80th occasion that you hear them. Moreover, there are some glitches that’ll pester hardcore players, such as when you land a big drop flat. This will cause your rider to stretch out like a terrible ET parody, and actually get caught in the wheels. It’d be a fun share moment, but it almost always culminates in a crash, meaning that the developer really needs to address this issue soon.

Conclusion

Trials Fusion is one of the best games on the PlayStation 4, there’s no doubt about that. Convince your friends to get it, and established relationships will turn sour faster than an Evel Knievel-esque stunt. Challenging, funny, and exciting – gaming rarely gets any better than this.

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User Comments (24)

get2sammybAdmin

#1

get2sammyb said:

Great review, Mat - I totally agree. I'm just disappointed @AntDickens isn't playing this one - I thought it would be right up your alley, sir.

Pedant

#6

Pedant said:

"although you’ll probably spend a large chunk of your time cursing Isaac Newton for inventing the laws of physics in the first place."

Newton didn't invent the laws of physics! He discovered some of them.

MatGrowcottStaff

#8

MatGrowcott said:

@get2sammyb Sorry, man - think I'm beating you as well.

@fit6958 I am totally up for that.

@ArseneWenger30 You really ought to. It'll be remembered as one of the true gems of the early PS4 days.

@Pedant Nope, you're wrong. We were all having a bunch of fun floating around until that jerk came along. That's science, mate.

LDXD

#10

LDXD said:

@Pedant hmmm well laws are invented and written not discovered its not like he invented gravity :p
@MatGrowcott great review man looks like I'm gonna have to pick this up sometime soon

JaxonH

#11

JaxonH said:

Wow, this game actually looks really fun, and usually I don't get into these types of games. It takes me back to the days of Rush 2 Stunt Mode on the 64. That was the last great game for stunts I played... perhaps it's time I revisit this genre. Yes, I think it's time.

Reverandjames

#12

Reverandjames said:

I got this game today, and I hate it. I really thought this would be a step up from Evolution, but it's just the same tired formula. Nothing new whatsoever. This isn't a next gen game by a longshot, and added to my long list of dissapointing PS4 games. Oh, and £16.00. Really?

get2sammybAdmin

#13

get2sammyb said:

@Reverandjames Wow, that's a shame. I've heard people air the same grievances. For me, I've only ever previously played Trials in short sessions on other people's consoles, so I'm enjoying finally getting the 'full' experience.

You're definitely not alone with that opinion, though.

Reverandjames

#14

Reverandjames said:

@get2sammyb Yeah, it's perfect for people who haven't properly played trials for themselves, I had the previous 2 on X360, and they were enjoyable, but this one feels exactly the same to me. I was completely bored after an hour. I might get more into it when I have some buds over

kingandaval

#15

kingandaval said:

@Reverandjames I completely agree.

Whilst the gameplay is as good as ever, it hasn't improved and certainly does not reflect a new generation of consoles. Couple this with a garishly awful dystopian 'theme' and horrible soundtrack, you have a game I really regret buying. Previously Trials was presented in a goofy and cool way that really made you invested in it's universe but now I feel as though it's being rammed down my throat as a serious title with clean edges and bright colours. The menus are particularly horrid. Everything's just too chiselled and clean. Take the medals that you earn, for example they're now a rounded, precise reward compared to the rough and edgy stylisation of previous titles.

Both Trials Evolution and Trials HD are better games in each and every way. Heck, I'd even say that I've enjoyed Urban Trial Freestyle more!

Though I criticise the title it's only because it's a series I hold close to my heart. I can see why a newcomer to this series, which will be a lot, as it's new to PS, would absolutely love this.

It's a polished title, just like it's predecessors, but it's polished in the complete wrong direction.

6.5/10 for me.

JaxonH

#16

JaxonH said:

Well, I went ahead and ordered this game today. $31.99 at Best Buy with GCU. After watching tons of footage on YT, I'm confident this is something I will enjoy. I also found the Urban Trials Freestyle on Vita for a buck. My brother bought it and just showed me the game- I'm pretty impressed for a buck and so is he.

MatGrowcottStaff

#18

MatGrowcott said:

@kingandaval @Reverandjames

Out of interest, exactly how would either of you change things up? I've been playing it since the original on Miniclip, and outside of adding new vehicles (which they've done), social features (which they've done) or harder levels (which they've done), they can't really do anything without changing the core gameplay.

Also, are you guys playing alone or are you competing with friends?

kingandaval

#19

kingandaval said:

@MatGrowcott

Change the Art style.
Change the Music.
Change the difficulty curve. (It's too easy and quite 'hand holding' for too long)
Change the menus.
Pretty much change everything I said I don't like about it :-P

Like I said, the gameplay is as fantastic as ever and it can't be improved but it just looks imposing and horrible when compared to the last two.

Imagine if they made a new Dark Souls game for next gen that played as fantastically as ever but it was set in the world of Killzone: Shadow Fall. That's what Redlynx have done here.

Reverandjames

#21

Reverandjames said:

@MatGrowcott @Kingandaval Both Trials HD and Evolution had social features, new vehicles and harder levels are an absolute given for a game like this. I certainly wouldn't have added tricks to this game, because that mechanic is broken. Countless times I have pulled off tricks and the game doesn't even recognise them, and a lot of the time, I'm not even in control of my rider. Definately a step backwards for me. They have tried to make it wacky and over the top, but nfortunately, it plays like a £0.99 app.

MoleZandor

#23

MoleZandor said:

I feel I need to stick up for this game after reading some of these comments. Every trials game from redlynx since the browser version has improved on the last. This game is not worse than the last one. Its not a massive improvement and the music is not great and there seems to be less levels than usual, but the controls have improved, the physics seems a bit tighter than before. As for the freestyle tricks, at first I thought it was broken too. But once you learn properly how the tricks are done, you will find it works really well. It was never meant to be an AAA graphical title which is why its so cheap. I would happily have paid £50 for it. With the DLC and user created content this game will be played a lot regardless of the small career mode. 10/10

Number_6

#24

Number_6 said:

I'm a little late to this party, but I just realized that RedLynx was the developer behind MotoHeroz on the Wii, my favorite 4-player game on that system. Take my money, please.

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