Trials Rising review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft/RedLynx
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

Not to get all self-referential, but way back in July 2018, when writing about Urban Trial Playground, I said that it would be fine for anyone who needed a stopgap until Trials Rising finally arrived in the winter. Now that Trials Rising is finally out…that pretty much stands.

I know that I should probably be comparing Trials Rising to previous Trials games, but it feels like a comparison to the alternative is much more appropriate — in part because Urban Trial is the current standard (such as it is) on the Switch, and in part because, bizarrely, I have much more experience playing the copycat than I do the original. (By which I mean that while I?ve played Trials Fusion, Trials Evolution, and Trials of the Blood Dragon, my cumulative time playing those games is dwarfed by the time I?ve spent with any single Urban Trial game.)

It should come as no surprise that Trials Rising eclipses its competition in every way. Whereas it didn?t take long in the Urban Trial games before it started feeling like all the tracks were exactly the same, Trials Rising gives you an abundance of tracks, and almost all of them feel substantially different from each other. The game takes place across several continents, and there?s a real effort made to make each feel distinctive — not just from each other, but also to their real-world setting. Sure, it?s kind of a stereotypical cosmetic thing to include place signifiers like flags and architectural styles, but they still go a long way towards making it not feel like you?re just doing the same tracks over and over again.

The controls are also pretty solid, which is essential in a game like this. If you?re racing down mountains and through abandoned factories and whatnot, you need to be able to stop on a dime and flip and speed up without any difficulty, and the game is good about allowing you to do just that.

Having said all that, if you do compare Trials Rising to its predecessors in the Trials series (rather than to its lacklustre competition(, you see the one area where it falls a little short: its system of progression. As fun as the tracks are, it?s hard not to feel a little hampered by the fact that your bike options are limited. You can earn them by levelling up, but the levels at which you earn a new bike are few and far between. You can also pay to unlock new bikes, except you don?t earn tonnes of money from races even when you win, so that?s not really an option. There are loot boxes to be won, but they don?t contain anything useful — just cosmetic upgrades that do nothing except to remind you that your bike is kind of underpowered.

As annoying as that is, however, it doesn?t stop you from going back to each track again and again (and again, and again, and again) until you finally get that gold medal. Trials games have always been all about that feeling of ?just one more try??, and Trials Rising is no different. This is the best game of its type on the Switch, and one that?s sure to get its hooks into you and keep them there.

Note: Ubisoft provided us with a Trials Rising Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-