Trials Evolution is a physics-based action sports racing game that combines the addictive nature of early Tony Hawk Pro-Skater titles with the adrenaline-fueled exploits of motorsports and X Games legend Travis Pastrana. Trials Evolution isn’t the game that players deserve, but the one we need right now to cleanse our palette of the mediocrity that has filled our free time.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Trials Evolution is one of those rare, high quality titles that take only a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. After choosing your motorbike and rider gear, all of which are unlockable and upgradable as you progress through the game, players come screaming out of the gate for a series of 2.5D side-scrolling levels with increasingly challenging and fun obstacles to conquer in a race to the finish line.

Some levels in Trials Evolution are visually stunning and genuinely distracting, such as ‘Ridinghood’, which takes place at dusk just as the sun is setting and the sky is filled with a crimson red hue that is perfectly accented by the wisps of flames drifting through the air. Other levels look like something out of an Old Spice commercial starring Terry Crews, with lots of explosions and over-the-top jumps over chasms as helicopters and fighter jets go flying by.

If none of the wonderfully crafted levels can sate your insanity, the game also features a number of editing tools in Track Central mode to create and share – there are already numerous inspired levels with features so wild that even the development team may need help mastering.

Friendly Face-Off

Only half the fun in Trials Evolution comes from mastering the deceivingly simple throttle and learning mechanics, the rest comes from showing off as you zip past your friends and kick up pebbles into their rider’s helmet. During an era where the addition of multiplayer to most games is a marketing afterthought meant to extend the life of an all-too-short single player experience, Trials Evolution makes it an integral part of the overall experience.

The multiplayer aspects of this game goes way beyond earning bragging rights based on leaderboard scores. Trials Evolution features a 2-4 player online or LOCAL (not a typo, genuinely excited there) multiplayer mode, which makes for the perfect platform to show off your triple backflips as buddies struggle to get past the first stack of plywood laid out to slow them down. Once everyone you’re with learns the nuances of the game, or you get brave enough to take on the world via Xbox LIVE, it becomes a thrilling race to the finish line filled with all the jumps and obscenities you’ll soon come to know and love.

Achieving Balance

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but Trials Evolution can really be seen as an allegory for life. Stay with me on this one. Learning from your past mistakes and previous experiences, such as with 2009’s Trials HD, gamers can get a better feel for the control they need to reach their goals. Simple enough, yes, but therein lies the secret – the best things in life ARE simple. You can become distracted by flashy things or brought down by the stress that comes with committing to a jump you know won’t work out for you, or you can learn to let go and just have fun. It’s as simple as that.

Crank the throttle, turn off the ringer on your phone, and stash a few drinks in your refrigerator now cause you’re going to be playing Trials Evolution for a long, long time.

Trials Evolution (RedLynx, Ltd) is out now on Xbox LIVE Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points.