There have been a number of games that try to emulate the popular Trials series of games from developer RedLynx, and in fact, the “side-scrolling motocross game” is practically its own genre on the App Store. Up until now, each of those games hasn't quite captured the “feel” of Trials, but with the release of iTrials [99¢] from developer Tooko a couple of weeks ago, there is finally a competent Trials-like experience that you can fit right in your pocket. There are some minor issues with iTrials, most of which are being sorted out with planned updates, but the core gameplay and level design is a ton of fun and if you're looking for some on-the-go Trials action then iTrials is your most solid choice.
iTrials takes place across 27 different levels in 3 tiers of difficulty. You'll power your motorbike down a single plane level filled with jump, seesaws, moving platforms, and all sorts of other obstacles to negotiate. You're timed on how long it takes you to complete each course, and checkpoints are spread throughout so you don't have to start all the way from the beginning should you bail (and you WILL bail). A slider in the lower left controls your bike's tilt angle, and gas and brake buttons adorn the right side of the screen. It's really simple to pick up and begin playing, and the physics and weight shifting of your rider feel just how you think they should.
Besides the nice handling of your bike, the level designs are what really set iTrials apart from similar titles. They start out simple enough, with just a few jumps and drops between the start and finish lines. Slowly the levels grow much more complex, with full loops, giant rotating platforms, seesaws, and other crazy hazards designed to make you bail. Bailing is actually part of the fun as the ragdoll physics of your rider provide for some amusing and painful looking crash animations. The checkpoint system is also done really well, as most levels can be beaten with just a little persistence no matter how difficult they are. Of course the clock remains ticking as you retry each section, and for an even greater challenge you can try to complete a level as quickly and flawlessly as possible to compete on the Agon leaderboards.
This video does a much better job showcasing what's on offer in iTrials than I can by just explaining it:
My major complaint with iTrials is the awkward positioning of the slider that controls your bike angle. It's much too close to the center of the screen to be comfortable, and I've often missed it entirely while playing. Thankfully an update is already submitted that addresses this, and adds tilt functionality as well, so it shouldn't be an issue too much longer. Speaking of updates, the developer has noted in our forums that following this first update they will be adding universal iPad support and updating the graphics for Retina Display. This is welcome news, as another sore point to iTrials is the fairly jagged graphics. If this gets addressed along with the control placement problems then there will be an incredibly solid foundation to build upon for the future.
In addition, new levels and modes are being discussed for iTrials, and the developer is open to all feedback for future changes to the game. iTrials is one of those games that's a ton of fun as is for the current price, but is also incredibly exciting due to its strong potential. There is a near-endless supply of praise for the game in our forums, and if you've been searching for a great motocross platforming game for your iOS device then iTrials should fit that bill nicely.
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