Across its various incarnations, the Trials franchise has always been about putting obstacles in your path and seeing how well you can overcome them (with the help of an over-revved dirtbike). The latest and rather magnificent instalment Trials Rising continues this fine tradition but adds a globetrotting twist, casting players as a cross between Barry Sheene and Phileas Fogg by tasking them with riding fairly roughshod over some famous international landmarks.
But when you first fire up the game, there is another big speed bump in the way: two bikes incarcerated behind a paywall. It’s that rare Trials hurdle that cannot be overcome by some improvised combination of throttle-feathering, mid-air rotation and a cheeky bunny-hop. To access the pedal-powered Helium or pocket-rocket Donkey requires dropping a sizeable wodge of in-game currency instead. (A brand-new two-player bike, the Tandem, is free from the outset, but that’s another story.)
The steady flow of coin rewards as you progress in Trials Rising means that unlocking these novelty rides will always be a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. Comparable pedal bikes and mini-motos have also featured in previous games, so why squirrel them away in the first place? My theory is that it probably has something to do with easing the player into the Trials Rising setup, where a cascade of standalone tracks, stunt challenges and stadium motocross events bloom into life as pins scattered across the globe.