trials fusion main title

The Trials series comes with a lot of hype and it can be hard to imagine how a 2D platformer could really hold up to it all. There are countless free iOS versions and even old-school online flash games with the same premise. So why should you spend money on a game that doesn’t feature any sort of new gameplay style? It isn’t about the core premise, but the amazing execution. Trials Fusion may appear simple at first, but the more you play it the more you see all the complexities rising. Fusion is filled with content to experience and while you may not love everything it brings to the table, there is at least a part of the game you will lose yourself in.

Explaining the gameplay is one of the simplest things you could ever do. You control a rider on a motorbike with a wide range of actions: gas, break, lean forward or lean back. That’s all. Your rider follows a 2D path in a 3D world. A majority of the time the goal is to reach the finish line with the faster time and fewest faults. Doesn’t sound too difficult, but the Trials series has become known for its nearly impossible tracks and testing the most patient of gamers. Fusion is no different and you will be breaking your controllers in no time.

trials fusion gameplay on ps4

Don’t worry, Fusion at least looks pretty while you die over and over again. This game was reviewed on the PS4 which means it plays in 1080p at 60fps. It is glorious. There are no dips in frame-rate, there was plenty of beautiful backgrounds, intricate landscapes, and rider animations. Being a 2D platformer doesn’t mean you can’t look pretty and Fusion understands that notion completely. Everything looks beautiful in this game when you stop to actually appreciate it. Normally you’re too busy worrying about something else, like landing on your face, but that doesn’t mean you can’t watch your rider face-plant in spectacular 1080p.

All this face-planting won’t happen at first so don’t worry. Fusion does a good job at introducing you to new concepts as you play through the career. You learn how to do something and then that level is dedicated to you mastering that new skill. These skills grow as the levels gradually become more difficult. You progress through the career mode by earning enough medals to unlock the next events. Eventually, earning bronze medals alone won’t be enough. This forces you to replay some levels but it never felt repetitive or annoying. One track may have been challenging when you first played it, but now you are far more skilled so you can make quick work of your original time to win better medals. This unlocks new events to continue your career.

Every medal you earn also awards you experience and money. Leveling up will unlock new gear to customize your rider with and you use money to purchases these customizable goods. There are also new bikes you unlock as you progress through the career. A new bike isn’t necessarily better either. Each bike has its uses. A more flexible bike may be faster, but climbing hills it is more likely to flip over. So “downgrading” to a worse bike can actually be the smart move on a few occasions. Fusion also introduces a new quad bike that is cumbersome but very study. You can’t tip it as easily, but that also mean you won’t accidentally fall over as much either. Last of all, the bicycle does make a return in all its glory.

trials fusion quad bike gameplay on ps4

After you earn medals in the career there are three challenges for each stage to really soak up more of your time. A track may have been easy at first, but try doing it without leaning at all or never letting go of the gas. Other challenges are about finding secret spots or hitting secret buttons. I easily spent over an hour trying to complete just one challenge for one track. Fusion – like all Trials games – has this addiction to them. You may fail hundreds of times, but you can’t help but keep trying.

The real brilliance behind the challenges are how they make every track feel different and new. Take the “no leaning” challenge for an example. The track was easy with leaning, but now every bump, jump, and hill was different. I couldn’t get passed the first downward drop because I kept slamming my head at the bottom. After trying a few dozen times, I learned that if I broke hard right before the drop, I would do a front-flip and land perfectly on my tires. I was reinvigorated now knowing how to get past that point. Then I drove a few more seconds and crashed. I now had to figure out how to get passed the next section.

Fusion can feel like a puzzler at times on top of a platformer. There will be one section you can’t passed because an obstacle stands in your way. You need to find the right trick or technique to get passed it. Try and try again until you finally accomplish it, only to be met with an even tougher obstacle. You take each track in parts to learn what works where. Then when you master it you can go back and attempt the zero fault run. Nothing displays this more than the extreme tracks. They are some of the toughest levels of all time and I haven’t even beaten the last two yet. These are the puzzler tracks that will take all your skill to beat.

trials fusion track editor on ps4

Another part of Fusion that can be as challenging as the extreme tracks is building the tracks in the Track Editor. There are plenty of frustrations in getting something to work properly, but The Editor can also be fairly relaxing as you calmly decorate the scenery or lay down some ramps. Whatever it may be, one thing is for sure, it is deep, complex, and full of creativity. There are countless possibilities just waiting to be created. Unless you already have experience with the editor from the previous title, there is a good chance you are going to feel very overwhelmed. I spent a solid couple hours building a track and it looked like a one-year-old was playing with blocks. I had trouble getting the events to work properly and whenever I went into the advanced physics of any object my mind almost exploded. The Editor packed with tools and possibilities that you can get lost in it for hours. Some people have a knack for it and you can play their amazing tracks online.

The online features is arguably why the Trials series has become so popular in the first place. After you create a track in the editor, you can post it online for the world to play. The creativity in some of these tracks is unparalleled. I’ve already played as two floating dots that I needed to rotate around obstacles, and I’ve seen an homage to Marble Madness where I was a giant marble. I don’t know how people create these tracks, but I hope they never stop.

There are all sorts of tracks to find online. Some of them are enjoyable drives with beautiful scenery, other’s have a theme in reference to something, and then there are the skilled tracks which provide the toughest challenges. You will undoubtedly find some type of track you prefer, and if not more are being added constantly. This extends the time you’ll spend on Fusion almost indefinitely. People continue making tracks and you keep having new levels to experience. A great system that has helped Trials became so popular.

trials fusion FMX trick gameplay on ps4

Everything I have mentioned has already been in the series, but Fusion does have some new features. Now by using the right thumb stick you can have your rider perform tricks. The tricks feel fluid but aren’t as easy to perform as you might think. Ending a trick will twist your bike and you need to account for that with the delicate physics. The FMX tracks are timed and score based. These tracks may not make you overcome a difficult obstacle, but landing a lot of tricks and chaining combos is difficult in its own way.

There are some problems but ever so slight. Fusion doesn’t exactly reinvent the series, so if you’re looking for a completely new experience from Evolution you aren’t going to find it. It does build upon its predecessor but not in any major way that you will think Fusion is a one-of-a-kind game. Fusion also had a habit of crashing on me in the menu screen. I believe it was trying to load too many things at once and selecting an option complicated the matter. It did force me out when I was trying to save my track in the editor, and I lost what I did. Luckily it wasn’t that much, but losing progress creating a track could be devastating. When I uploaded a screen shot the game froze as well. I learned to generally not do anything on startup and let the game load everything first. This only occurred a few times and it hasn’t hindered the overall game in any major way.

The biggest letdown is the lack of online co-op races. You can still race locally with friends, but not online anymore. This seems like a big fault to leave off, but the defense is you can always see the ghosts’ of your friends on a track. That is what you race, but it doesn’t have the same feeling as being in an actual race. Supposedly there may be a patch to add this feature in, but who knows if that will actually happen. As of right now, it does feel like it’s missing.

Trials Fusion Setting

Fusion may not reinvent the series but it entertains from the simple controls, to the well done physics, all the way to the complex editor. There are a wealth of fun tracks that provide plenty of enjoyment without pulling your hair out. Fusion is also the perfect game for you if you want to spend hours throwing your controller against the wall or flipping any table within your reach. Some levels are close to impossible and will make you a masochist for finding enjoyment in all that brutal, painful failure. Yet when you finally prevail, there is a worldly feeling about being successful and overcoming that difficulty. There are few games that mix simplistic enjoyment with tough-as-nails challenges as well as Fusion. There is something here for all too love, whether it’s enjoying the scenery, gritting your teeth trying to make an impossible jump, or navigating your way through the editor menus to create the tracks the world will experience. Trials Fusion is a solid game that is packed with tons of content for hours and hours of fun. Enjoy your ride.

This review is based off a review copy of the Playstation 4 version of Trials Fusion developed by Redlynx and provided by Ubisoft. 

Welcome To The Future | Trials Fusion Review
Overall Score8.5
  • Packed With Content
  • Deep Track Editor
  • Provides A Serious Challenge
  • No Offline Co-op
  • Some Crashing and Freezing Issues
  • Doesn't Reinvent The Series
8.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

About The Author

Neil has had a passion for video games ever since the Atari entered his life so many years ago. He's been writing about them for over two years and sees no end in sight. Reach out to him on twitter @nconnors13