Trials Fusion is a follow up to the previous Trials games. It’s a physics based game that doesn’t adhere to one specific genre – there are elements of platformer, puzzle and racing games in Trials Fusion.
Fusion features everything players loved about the previous games, but also employs a new tricks system known as “FMX” as well as a fully-fledged track editor, allowing players to edit and create their own courses and share them with other players.
Even better, drastic changes like the FMX system are relegated to their own sections, so they won’t upset purists while also providing a new experience for players who aren’t that fussed. That being said, they aren’t ground breaking either – their impact on the Trials formula is pretty minute.
The level creator certainly lends itself to some fantastic potential – especially players who might want to recreate versions of classic tracks from previous games.
Trials Fusion takes a much more futuristic approach to its presentation – and while that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, it means that it gives the team a lot to work with in terms of visuals. On the PS4, the game runs at full 1080p in 60fps too, so the gameplay is silky smooth. Reports indicate that other versions run at reduced resolutions in order to achieve this, but most versions of the game are very well presented. Explosions happen in the background, items destroy parts of the track and the environment itself interacts as much as possible with the player and the track without interfering with the gameplay. The only real problem with the game’s presentation is the textures, which sometimes take time to properly appear after choosing to retry a level. It’s a minor gripe, but it’s there. There are some frame rate drops in the Xbox One version too.
The soundtrack is a bit of a mixed bag. There are definitely some people that will appreciate the Swedish House Mafia-inspired B-side track that plays on the title screen, but I personally find it a bit tacky and cheesy. Besides the title track, the soundtrack consists of largely generic fast paced EDM tracks that perfectly fit the tone and atmosphere of the game, especially since it has stepped into a more futuristic setting. There is some occasional voice work too, and while it’s nothing besides the occasional yelp from an airborne or free-falling driver, it does get annoying from time to time.
Trials Fusion is a physics based racing game with puzzle elements, so it takes a while to work out how your bike will react to certain geometry in the environment as well as the most effective ways to navigate obstacles. The other half, and where most of the difficulty lies, is in precision. Players will be able to pull off all kinds of manoeuvres during the game, and only the most skilled of players will be able to correct themselves in the face of error. It’s that divide between the player base that gives Trials’ its immense appeal – it’s almost universal in it’s ability to appeal to audiences and it’s simple enough to grasp at a superficial but hard to master.
The missions themselves all adhere to a very standard formula – get from beginning to end. Of course, from beginning to end, players will be met with all kinds of obstacles whether it be unconventionally shaped ramps or impossibly sharp ravines. It’s interesting to see what the team have come up with in terms of level design – two interlocking platforms might look impossible to traverse but by thinking outside of the box and utilising backflips and the like, they become rather easy to get through. The process of working these parts out is what makes Trials Fusion so fulfilling – why I am inclined to say that Trials Fusion is partially a puzzle game.
There are also “skill” levels that don’t require players to reach the finish line, instead imposing specific goals like traveling as far as possible without letting go of the accelerator or as far as possible without leaning forward or back to change your trajectory. These are fun and add variety to the game, but unfortunately don’t happen nearly enough.
Trials Fusion is packed to the brim with content, and amongst that are the customisation options. There’s all kinds of bikes to use, as well as brand new quad bikes which add a new layer of strategy to some of the levels. Each bike can also be customised with different wheels and colours too – and with the amount of options on offer here it’s easy to say every player will find a look that will suit them best. Although I found that it’s kind of annoying that a lot of these options are tied behind player progression through the main career mode. Many of these options also extend to your driver too, which is a nice touch.
For those who aren’t happy with dying hundreds of times just to get through the level, each level also comes with a set of challenges that players can attempt to complete while trying to get the finish line. These challenges vary quite a bit – some steal directly from the skill based sections (ie. Complete the level without reducing your speed) but others are more unique and require you to explore your environment. It’s a simple system that’s been done to death in games like these. It definitely fosters replayability in the game and provides players with many reasons to replay the games multiple levels multiple times. The game is perfectly designed to allow this too – with the press of a button taking players to either the beginning of a course or the latest checkpoint with little to no interruptions – a necessity in a game that warrants so many retries.
In addition to the challenges system, the game also employs a basic rankings system to allow players to earn medals. Medals are tied to progression in the game – so players will have to overcome their lower skills if they want to unlock new courses. It makes sense too – since later courses will require players to have the proper skills and mastery to be remotely enjoyable. Given the amount of content available here, many players will easily get at least ten hours – with most completionists or, for lack of a better term, addicts, getting over twenty ours out of Trials Fusion.
There’s even local multiplayer too, which pitches two characters on the same course against each other. This is a nice touch, but it feels like a bit of a misstep that there’s no online modes available – though there are leaderboards to compare with your friends. There’s even basic ghosting modes – where you can see how your friends did on a course in real time as you play. It’s a great way to be competitive without actually providing proper online multiplayer.