12 cert, Ubisoft, Xbox One (also PS4, Xbox 360, PC)
Like an expensive dirtbike, Trials games are more refined than they first seem. On the surface, they look like (and are) 2D racing games with basic controls. You can’t turn, but you can control your speed and lean the biker’s body weight forward or back.
These controls seem simple, but have lots of nuance. As every biker knows, how you lean can determine your velocity, balance and safety. So the tiniest tilt could have you hurtling to your doom, while tweaking your position ever so slightly could lead to a triumphant finale.
Trials Fusion has a futuristic sheen, but still maintains the series’ slapstick sense of humour. This time the courses are more bizarre and sophisticated, including catapults, trapdoors and floors that move in and out of the biker’s path. The rider’s shrieks of terror and brays of joy contrast with the precise, calm, instructors’ voices.
Should you want to, you can compare your performance with those of online strangers. I didn’t. But to be fair, “Track Central” is a treat: Gamers can craft and share their own tracks, so there are literally thousands of ways you can test the laws of physics and the limits of your bike.
While it’s still a relatively low-fi franchise, Trials Fusion is the best looking in the series so far. The shiny cityscapes, the harsh, varied weather conditions and the vertigo-inducing animation are attractive and colourful.
Trials Fusion is a familiar retreading of its addictive formula, with some welcome tweaks. The setting has given the franchise a shot in the arm; though I don’t share the developers’ opinion that dubstep is the music of the future. ubi.com/games