Trials Rising Review

Richard Walker

Trials Rising has the absolute best finishing lines. Few other games manage to heap such a manic degree of absurdity into the end of a race, but the Trials series has always made the finish line a place to inflict horrendous physical trauma to your rider, with darkly hilarious results. I've been launched into the air like a firework, crushed by giant tyres, hurled into the sea, thrust into a portaloo (AKA a porta potti), and catapulted headlong into explosive barrels multiple times. And it never gets old. Indeed, you could say the same about Trials Rising, the most varied entry in the series yet.

Where previous Trials games pitted you against the clock in a bid to bag a medal, Trials Rising introduces 'contracts'; optional objectives set by certain sponsors to keep you on your toes. At a basic level, these objectives include completing a track without breaking a set fault limit, or beating a ghost data to the finishing line. Others require you perform certain stunts, like several frontflips or backflips before reaching the end, which when you're striving for a competitive, fault-free run, can be easier said than done.

As far as Trials Rising's core mechanics are concerned, RedLynx keeps things much the same as the previous games, retaining the series' trademark challenging physics-based mayhem. So what's new then? There's more variation, which is nice, so each location scattered across Trials Rising's world map feels distinct, with its own novelties and unique obstacles to overcome. You can be scaling the Eiffel Tower one minute, barreling down the rails of a theme park rollercoaster or bunny hopping between airborne luggage inside a cargo plane the next.

The real reason you'll keep coming back to Trials Rising is that tried-and-tested, stupidly addictive 'just one more go' gameplay, complemented by restarts at the touch of a button, as expected. This time, you'll start out on the 'Squid', a basic motocross bike that's nippy but easy to handle, tackling a range of Beginner and Easy tracks. There's even the 'University of Trials' where you can cut your teeth on training courses, getting to grips with the basics of throttle control, leaning, and more advanced techniques like bunny hops and such.

Trials Rising is a slightly more welcoming Trials game, then, what with its comprehensive tutorials and slew of relatively undemanding courses to gently ease you in. Eventually, however, you'll get to the tougher challenges, and it's at this point that Trials Rising veers off-course slightly. Not because it's too hard, but because it asks that you grind through races you've already completed ad nauseum to level up and unlock the later stages. Reaching level 50 brings with it an impasse of sorts, the next stadium finals locked behind a level 58 requirement, and few ways to efficiently attain that level.

You can retry tracks using the heavier but more powerful Rhino or the agile Mantis bikes, and some contracts restrict you to a certain class, including the Helium BMX. Indeed, it's the contracts that provide the only real reason to keep going back through the same levels, beyond improving your time and leaderboard position. Contracts grant new stickers for customisation and fresh clothing items for your rider too, as well as a few coins to spend on whatever you like, but these too can sometimes become a little repetitive.

Levelling up also brings with it the reward of 'gear crates' that grant three bits of loot of varying rarity. This is nice, of course, but there's nothing you can do with duplicate items. They just sit there in your inventory being all useless and stuff. It would have made sense to be able to sell duplicate items for a few coins or something, especially since unlocking the Helium will cost you 10,000 coins and the Donkey moped will set you back 15,000. You'll earn coins while slowly and agonisingly levelling past 50, but everything (including XP) is doled out in such meagre quantities.

Apart from the looping handful of licensed songs on the soundtrack that will have reaching for the mute button after the tenth consecutive playing of a tune in which Lemmy rants about seeing a flying saucer, the post-level 50 grind is Trials Rising's biggest problem. It almost completely leeches the fun and sense of momentum from the game in one fell swoop, which is especially galling when you look back on the hours of enjoyment you'll have had getting to that point.

As we've already touched upon, Trials Rising's track design is exemplary stuff; quite possibly the most dynamic and exciting the series has mustered to date, in fact. It's a high standard that's maintained across an incredibly generous 117 courses, not including the sublimely ridiculous Skill Games. The series' anarchic slapstick humour is still very much alive and well in Trials Rising too, which can only be seen as a good thing. Take the two-player Tandem, for instance, the equivalent of letting the Chuckle Brothers loose on a Trials track.

It's just a shame that the whole experience has the aforementioned levelling system and largely pointless gear crates layered on top of what is an otherwise fantastic game, and one of the best Trials titles to date. The ample content creation tools of Track Central return once more and a decent multiplayer suite comprising online and local modes rounds out the entire package (although Private Multiplayer is greyed-out as 'coming soon' at time of writing), making for a Trials that's also rich in content. If that damn levelling system didn't get in the way so much, this could have been nigh-on perfect.

Despite this primary gripe, Trials Rising stands as a triumphant return for RedLynx's raucous two-wheeled series. One so good that it almost makes you forget that Trials of the Blood Dragon ever happened. Almost...

Trials Rising

Keeping the core fundamentals intact, Trials Rising is every bit as enjoyable and challenging as its predecessors, but is marred slightly by the introduction of a pointless levelling system that only serves to lock off tracks and force you to needlessly grind. That core Trials gameplay is still sensational, though.

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The licensed rock and hip-hop music on Trials Rising's soundtrack is perfectly in keeping with the game's tone, but there are so few tracks that they'll do your head in after a while. Engine noises are still nice and raspy, and your rider still screams bloody murder when thrown from their bike.


Every one of Trials Rising's courses look superb. The lighting, backdrops and everything else is drenched in detail. A delightfully dirty and attractive game to look at.


Trials Rising's physics and challenging gameplay remain a complete and utter joy, preserving that whole 'just one more go' factor that has always made the series so damn moreish. Rising might well be the best yet.


Fusion's FMX bits have been nixed, but the University of Trials is a neat touch, and the world map packs in a diverse number of locations. Unwelcome modern trappings like levelling up, crates and other fripperies needlessly muddy the purity of Trials and don't add anything, however. Trials Rising really doesn't need any of this.


A fairly abhorrent achievement list that's simply far too demanding. While many of the objectives here are creative, they're also incredibly hard and not in a fun or challenging way. There's also too much of a focus on grinding, in a game that already requires too much of that.

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