Trials: Evolution is an offering from the former of these two options, and is an Xbox exclusive. Trials: Evolutionis the long awaited sequel to the XBLA best seller Trials HD, which was released back in 2009 to great critical acclaim. Trials: Evolution promised to improve on all areas of the game’s experience, from its physics to its deep track editing feature, but did the team at Red Lynx finish with a gold or bail?

In Trials: Evolution the player takes control of a motor cross rider and has to guide him through a wide variety of tremulous courses with the simple controls of brake and accelerate, and lean backwards and forwards. Seems simple, right? No. In fact, Trials can be extremely frustrating and later levels can take an enormous amount of skill and patience to complete. Trials has no story as such, but the single player consists of various licence tests broken up with tracks of increasing difficulties. It is in the tracks that the majesty of Trials: Evolution resides. Red Lynx had taken huge steps to broaden the variety of tracks from the previous game. Now the player is able to precariously drive through mountains, goldmines, battlefields, and even a D-Day landing beach. Another fantastic mode in single player is the Skill Game Circus mode. In this, players are able to enjoy various mini game type challenges created through Trials’ extensive track editor. These challenges can include a Super Monkey Ball-like course, flying a UFO, and many others. Some of the challenges developed by Trials’ strong community through the track editor are in fact the most interesting, including a first person shooter level, and an Angry Birds clone.

Moving on to the track editor, put simply it improves on every single aspect of Trials HD, providing arguably the most extensive level creation tool ever released with a game. All the single player courses made by Red Lynx were apparently created using the in-game track editor that is available to the player. From the content in the game and the tracks that are already on the online servers, the sky is certainly the limit in terms of what is possible. The multiplayer has also been improved dramatically from previous entries into the series, with up to four player local and online races available in various flavours. The addition of races and challenges with people other than those on one’s friends list is welcome, and allows you to judge your talent against the wider Trialscommunity.

In conclusion, Trials: Evolution is a must have for anyone with an Xbox Live gold subscription. It is completely and utterly addictive, and also incredibly enjoyable. Everything from the technically superb track editor to the wonderfully kooky track endings (one level sees your rider flying off into the moon) is crafted with real talent and affection, rendering Trials: Evolution one of the best titles in the XBLA library. It is not very often that a sequel truly improves on all aspects of previous titles in a series to the degree that Trials: Evolution and Red Lynx do, and they should certainly be praised for this achievement.