Taking the world of a platformer, a 2D level of obstacles and add a dirt bike. What do you get? Well, every single installment in the Trial Xtreme series.
We’re up to number three now.
This genre is starting to become rather populated in the Play store with a tonne of other alternatives but none match up to Trail Xtreme. The physics engine used by Deemedya combines just the right amount of ragdoll physics with the rigid acceleration of a dirt bike.
The first major difference I noticed was that you’re not in it alone anymore. You can now race against an AI ‘ghost rider’ or even friends if you sign in with Facebook. This adds a more ‘socially connected’ feel to the game but ultimately the main aim of shameless promotion, rather than a prospering community, shines through.
It’s a real shame too but a tactic the freemium model depends on, I guess.
I tested this game in my Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 and the graphics looked amazing – a clear improvement on the predecessors. The tracks in particular render in sharp, well defined textures complemented by backgrounds that look great and are even animated at points (lighthouses, sunsets and moving scenery).
Business, Getting in the Way of Gaming
The gameplay itself is easy to adapt to and ultra responsive. One thing that bugs me is the assumption by the developer that the device’s accelerator makes the best control option. I have never met a single gamer that would rather flail their device around in a helpless lag-fest in the hope of having even 10% of the control traditional buttons do. I gave up after a few minutes and reverted back to the trusted directional controls.
After that, controlling the bike was way more responsive enabling quick wheelies and bunny hops to work with my jittery acceleration, as opposed to against it. The layout requires the right thumb to either accelerate or brake while the left thumb determines the lean (forward or back) of the rider, as well as jump.
The free download includes twelve courses to test out your bike. The game uses a currency model which can be used to upgrade your bike, buy new clothes for the rider and unlock new features. In order to unlock the full 72 levels you’ll have to pay 99c of ‘real world’ money. While still cheaper than previous installments I don’t see why they’ve adopted this route. The pop-ups get annoying and the game is good enough in itself to warrant a premium version right off the bat – no silly salesmanship required. All this does is spoil the flow of gameplay.
What’s more, character customisation is a shallow offering. What’s the point? There’s no online world in which to partake and I certainly don’t sit around dressing up dolls on a screen for no reason.
Cool New Environments and Features
Despite the business side of thing somewhat dampening the mood there is a lot of fun to be had. The levels themselves quickly escalate from simple ramps and platforms to moving crane loads, huge fans that blow you one way or the other, burning barrels and escalator tracks.
At points my frustration levels were at an all time high but it was that good kind of frustration that comes from playing a game that works well and challenges you with awesome, intricate gameplay that requires quick reactions and finesse at the same time.
Progression through the levels is very quick if you play the game straight through, and again, I suspect this has a lot to do with building up to the ‘buy more levels’ sales pitch. However, if you choose to play against friends or ghost riders and build up in-game currency you can play the same levels again and again without boredom setting in.
What’s more, some levels have slightly different routes available. I only discovered this on my third run-through when excessive acceleration shot me up onto higher ground to collect never-before-seen points
Overall this is a fun game that leaves the player with a genuine sense of accomplishment after each level. The only downside is the freemium business model sticking its nose in our our fun. I hope that Deemeyda realise the model barely works in RPGs, and kills the fun elsewhere.
As a sidenote, Android gaming is beginning to mature so I hope the developers realise that the path of ‘more of the same’ which they seem to be following leads off a cliff.
A good, free game that’s well worth your time.