Trials Rising: lots of trial and error

This racing platformer crashes straight into success.


When learning to ride your bike, you’re always told to get back up when you fall, but what about when you’re riding your bike through a movie studio and crash into a prop?

If your answer is just to reset your ride, you’re probably playing “Trials Rising.” Developed in part by Ubisoft and Ubisoft Redlynx, “Rising” is the most recent addition to the Trials series.

Players can ramp off the Eiffel Tower, race on crumbling parts of the Great Wall of China and crash on the Colosseum. All courses will have a challenge of varying difficulty for players to try and complete. These consist of easy challenges such as the course within a time limit, as well as harder tasks like completing the course without crashing a certain number of times. Players will receive a trophy based on how well they do during the race, and each trophy level results in a different amount of trials coins, the in-game currency that is seemingly useless, and experience points gained.

Scattered throughout each course are several checkpoints that allow players to restart after crashing, which can happen a lot. When players inevitably do crash, there are three possible options for how to continue – restart from the most recent checkpoint they’ve passed, completely reset the level or stop playing and calm down after crashing for the twentieth time. 

Sponsorship contracts add extra challenges that are unlocked as players level up. Each sponsor gives challenges that are much more difficult than regular ones. When completed, they give more experience points and coins than are regularly earned, as well as stickers that can be applied to bikes or clothing.

As races are completed and players level up, more features will be unlocked such as more races across the globe, minigames and different types of bikes. Each time a player levels up they will receive a “Gear Box”, or loot crate, containing three items. To unlock more races, players must complete a series: a set of three races that start off with eight races and narrows down to the best two.

There are ten mini-games that can be unlocked as players level up. While these aren’t part of the main gameplay, they can offer a much-needed break. One of the mini-games is “Bomb Bouncer,” which would have scared even the likes of Evel Knievel – it requires players to try to travel as far as possible using explosions as their main source of propulsion.

There is an online mode that lets up to eight other players race against each other. Players complete a series of races to determine who is the best biker. When trying to play this mode on the “Nintendo Switch” I was unable to connect with any other players – this may be due to no players using the “Switch” or an issue with the game’s servers.

However, if you’d rather play with a friend, there is a local co-op mode that allows two players to either race against each other or share a tandem bike. When competing against each other, players can even place bets. When in tandem, players must work together to angle their bodies, shifting the weight on the bike to prevent crashing while airborne. This mode will require serious communication, far beyond blaming the other player when both of you crash.

For players who feel a creative spark, much of their time might be spent with this game’s customization mode. Players can customize their avatar and their bike’s stickers unlocked throughout the game, which make the most boring clothing or bikes into works of art. As with stickers, players can buy clothing and bike parts from their respective in-game “stores”.

For the dedicated and creative, there’s a mode that lets players customize their own track within a set world. This mode is best left to the professionals or anyone willing to spend a few hours to learn how it works. There are vague instructions on how to create a track, and the controls made it feel like this mode wasn’t really built to be the main focus of players time.

Overall I had mixed reactions to the game. It’s a fantastic arcade and racing platformer, able to get players hooked on its repetitive gameplay mechanics. Players can spend hours on one level trying to get a perfect run through without crashing once, or they can succeed on their first try. The downsides are its low graphical quality compared to other recent games like “Red Dead Redemption 2,” “Kingdon Hearts 3,” or even “Skyrim” which is now seven years old. A few lines of dialogue made it seem like there was almost a story mode, but those disappeared quickly.

Email Patrick at [email protected].

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