A taste of things to come.
Much as we'd like to see Trials developer RedLynx port its incredible Trials series to the App Store, we'd imagine they just haven't been able to do the core gameplay justice. Tablet and mobile horsepower is gradually increasing to the point where it should soon be capable of accommodating a demanding motocross engine, but the real problem of course is how you transfer precise controls to a touchscreen.
Many have tried, but few have achieved any great measure of success. Next up for the challenge is developer Deemedya with the third edition of its popular Trial Xtreme series. This is a full-blooded attempt to bring the Trials experience to mobiles, and packs in all off the ramps, obstacles and delicate handling you'd expect.
What about those controls? By default, you race your rider through these obstacle courses using a combination of gyroscopic movement and virtual buttons. It's certainly possible to complete the courses using the tilt-steering option, but we'd be surprised if any of the top times were set this way. Far better to head into the options and add a couple of extra steering buttons to the screen - the additional UI clutter is well worth the pay-off.
The courses themselves are densely packed with potential trouble, from rotating archways to rolling barrels, and you'll need a very delicate approach to the brake, throttle, bunny hop and lean controls if you're to navigate all of these successfully. Your grading on each stage is based on the time it took you to finish the course, how many of the special coins you collected, and whether you managed to complete the challenge without incurring any faults.
The coins you earn from beating these challenges go into a pot that you can spend in the store. There are three different bikes to be purchased here, each of which brings a different degree of power to the proceedings, and you can also spend money on new paint jobs for those bikes, or just kit your rider out in some fancy new clothes.
If you prefer to race against a real-life opponent instead of the clock, there's the option to select a leaderboard ghost and do your best to beat them. Loading times are impressively fast here, although we'll warn you that those who are good at the game are really good, and you shouldn't expect to take too many prisoners until you've mastered the courses.
Trial Xtreme 3 is only really a free game in as much as you get a handful of levels from each of the game's four stages with the initial download - if you want any more than that, you'll have to unlock the full game or buy level packs piecemeal. In fairness, that initial content is more than enough for you to determine whether the challenge and competence of the game's physics engine is your cup of tea or not, and the selection gives you a good taste of the tropical beaches and city streets available.
We're still waiting for the perfect incarnation of RedLynx's masterpiece to make the tricky transition from physical controllers to touchscreens, but Trial Xtreme 3 is a very worthy step in the right direction - even if the physics engine underlying the racing action can be a little temperamental at times. If you don't mind a rather steep learning curve, and are prepared to experiment with the default controls, you'll get plenty of mileage out of this tricky title.
Trial Xtreme 3 is free to download but in-app purchases are available. Additional level packs cost $0.99 each, or you can unlock all levels in the game for $2.99. If you need more coins in Trial Xtreme 3, these are available in the following quantities: 20,000 ($0.99) / 60,000 ($2.99) / 120,000 ($4.99) / 260,000 ($9.99) / 560,000 ($19.99) / 1,500,000 ($49.99)
What's Hot: An impressive - if occasionally temperamental - physics engine, a satisfying selection of challenges, and a slick ghost system for competitive play.
What's Not:That physics engine could use a little extra tuning, and you'll likely need to adjust the game's default controls.