Sometimes the simplest games can be the most fun to play. We all have our favorites - whether it's some classic 16bit console game we fire up on an emulator every so often, or some web based flash game we can't seem to stop playing, it seems even in today's world of advanced open ended game design and human like AI we can't help but occasionally indulge in the much less complex time waster.
least, this definitely is not the case with Trials 2 Second Edition from Finnish game developer RedLynx. This physics based bike game is probably one of the most simple you'll play on the PC in 08, but also probably one of the hardest and most addictive.
The concept behind Trials 2 SE can basically be summed up in one word - physics. Based on the real world sport of trial biking with an arcade game twist, and also based on the popular flash based game found on Miniclip.com, Trials 2 SE is built entirely around a true physics engine with the obligatory rag doll effects to boot. The idea is simply this - you must navigate your dirt bike from start to finish,
falling (known as "faulting") as few times as possible, which generally happens if you lean back too far or go head-over-handlebars. You can only move in four directions - backwards, forwards, upwards and downwards - meaning the initially normal but quickly outlandish levels resemble that of a side scrolling platformer more than a typical bike racing game.
So it sounds pretty straight forward, right? I mean, you ride a bike backwards and forwards and try to get to the end of the level - big deal. Big deal indeed. The task sounds easy enough, but the actual execution is anything but. Due to some very clever and crafty level design, getting from start to finish without faulting in any level in this game can be quite a challenge. The game is entirely about adjusting your rider's body weight and landing on some pretty imposing objects, such as a roughly stacked
group of tires, a large boulder, or a plank of wood slouched at a 45 degree angle. If you do happen to fall off, no worries - you can just respawn at the previous checkpoint and have another crack at it - but ideally you're looking to finish levels without faulting at all.
Honestly, this simply wasn't possible for me except in the game's 'Easy' levels and maybe one or two 'Medium' levels. Not faulting on a 'Hard' level though? Forget about it, I didn't stand a chance. The design of some of these harder levels are extremely difficult. The thing is though, this is how I felt about some of the 'Easy' levels the first time I played the game. My immediate reaction was "Far out, this game is freaking tough" (well, that is the PG-13 version of what I said anyway), but after
playing for a little while, you do start to really get a feel for the game and you start to see your skills develop in front of your very eyes. While I'm not sure I'd ever be able to master this game entirely, in time even a few of the more daunting levels can be tackled without too much trouble. With that said though, unless you're exceptional at keeping your cool, be prepared for some frustration as this game can be very repetitive and tedious in some spots. The problem with a pure physics based game like
this is you often play in patterns and rhythms since even the smallest and slightest touch matters, and you'll find sometimes even a seemingly very simple section of a level can take a long time and a lot of retries to conquer.