While Trials HD may have taught us about persistence and anguish – in the most feel-good, rewarding way possible – it was the sequel, Trials Evolution, that turned us into hardcore adrenaline junkies. Reset after reset, while learning the art of transforming trip-up into triumph, we found it nearly impossible to resist the voice in the back of our heads constantly screaming “one more game" — especially when there was so much to do.
With a diehard community of users creating tracks that rival the impeccable quality of those made by the developer, RedLynx, there was almost always something new to experience with every play session. When we eventually did stop playing Trials Evolution, it wasn’t due to lack of content; instead it was a decision made in an effort to better focus on the latest and greatest games – we do have a website to run, here.
But with the third installment in the series, Trials Fusion, only a couple weeks away from dropping onto the Xbox One and Xbox 360, the urge for more ramp-riding, bone-crunching fun is creeping over us with resilient determination...and we know we aren't the only ones feeling the itch. So with that said, we came up with 10-ish games that should satiate your need for sweat-inducing, controller-clenching action while you brave the longest short wait of your life.
Strap in, suit up, and get ready to shift gears… things are about to get EXTREME.
Burnout 3: Takedown (Xbox)
For many of us, this is the pinnacle of adrenaline-fueled racing. If you’re unaware, the Burnout series is all about driving dangerously to fill your boost meter, navigating courses at breakneck speeds, and not only fighting for first place, but also turning opposing vehicles into a mangled wreck. Many may argue that following installments are better, but this was the first one to really get the formula right, and we’re quite fond of it for that reason – among many, many others. After spending a couple weekends with the game this past year, we can say that it feels like it hasn’t aged a day – with beautiful visuals, responsive controls, and loads of content. This is arcade-style demolition racing at its finest, and a game that should be in the collection of every racing fan.
FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage (Xbox 360)
When a game doesn’t care how ridiculous it is as long as it exudes mass doses of fun, that’s when you get a gem like FlatOut. This arcade racer doesn’t shake things up all that much when it comes to the race and derby modes, but when you get into the challenge arena, that’s when equal portions of ridiculousness and hilarity ensue. Ragdoll physics are almost always funny, but in the FlatOut series they’re a laugh riot. You can participate in events like basketball and darts, though instead of possessing actual basketballs or darts, you’ll launch the driver from the vehicle and at the goal. Sounds crazy, right? It is. And that's why we've included Ultimate Carnage on this list.
Joe Danger: Special Edition (XBLA)
What do you get when you mix elements of Excitebike, Trials, and a dash of Stuntman? Joe Danger. This is a charming side-scroller that will have you platforming, performing tricks, and clearing various objectives all while barreling toward the finish line. It’s colorful, cartoony fun, and probably the most inviting game featured on this list – but it should be said that it’s going to take mad skills if you have your sights on all the pro medals.
Motocross Madness (XBLA)
We like Motocross Madness — quite a bit, actually.
OutRun 2 (Xbox)
OutRun 2 is, as you may have deduced, the sequel to the original Out Run. It retains the same drift-centric gameplay, intensifying traffic and branching track design that the series is known for. You’re even accompanied by an impressionable female passenger who reacts to your performance, accordingly. There isn’t much more depth than a typical arcade game, but discovering the various routes and mastering the drift mechanic makes this a satisfying time killer. The quick speeds and sharp turns should be enough to raise your heartbeat and provide you with an adequate fix until Fusion drops in.
Pure/Nail'd (Xbox 360)
Pure and Nail’d weren't developed by the same team, nor are they even from the same series. The reason we’ve lumped them together, though, is that they’re a heck of a lot alike, and both make for an explosive burst of fun. Labeling these as ATV rollercoaster rides would be the most accurate way for us to convey the type of action you'll find here. Pure is undoubtedly the more refined experience, while Nail’d is higher energy with more content – though it suffers from sketchy collision detection. If soaring through the air above breathtaking vistas sounds like your thing – at speeds that could melt the skin from your face, no less – then you should check out either one of these games. Just brace your veins for a mass surge of extreme.
Split/Second (Xbox 360)
At first glance Split/Second may appear to be little more than a Burnout clone — because on one hand that’s what it is. However, what makes this rampage racer unique is its appetite for utter destruction and chaos. Towering skyscrapers topple onto the course, airplanes barrel from the sky, and bridges collapse as if they were made of glass; leaving you with a split second to react and avert disaster. Developed by the now defunct Black Rock Studios, the people behind Pure (see above), it’s no surprise that this game is as intense as it is. Be sure to bring a case of energy drinks along for the ride, or you may not possess the mental alertness required to navigate the perilous landscape.
Stuntman: Ignition (Xbox 360)
Let us be clear: Stuntman: Ignition won’t be for everyone. The gameplay is very trial-and-error, with one little mistake often forcing you to restart an entire shot – yes, shot. Instead of being a conventional driving game, Stuntman plants you behind the wheel of a diverse lineup of vehicles on the set of various action movies. Each stage is set up like a scene, and you’ll have to perform specific maneuvers and commands at indicated places in the environment. It’s an absolutely thrilling time if you’re a patient person who doesn’t mind replaying a stage over-and-over to execute a flawless run – if you’re well-versed in Trials that shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, once production has wrapped on each film, it’s pretty cool seeing your work featured in full-blown movie trailers.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (XBLA)
As the popularity of extreme sports was on the rise in the late 90’s, developer Neversoft brought us accessible skateboarding gameplay that just about every type of gamer gravitated toward as if they’d been a fan of the sport all along. Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD is a remake of the game that started it all, but it also features some stages from the sequel, Pro Skater 2. While the gameplay has aged a little bit, we think this is still a sound purchase for both newbies and series veterans — even if it's just to enjoy those classic Goldfinger, Bad Religion, and Lagwagon tunes.
Trials HD / Evolution (XBLA)
Of course if you’re uber eager to get your hands on more Trials and don’t think you can handle waiting until April 16th, you could always kick up some dirt one of the first two installments. Don’t own either and aren’t sure which to download? We recommend going with Trials Evolution, which has much more content and diversity on show than Trials HD, along with an insane amount of user-created courses which are not only abundantly creative, but often of impressive quality.
Want to recommend a game that wasn't mentioned on this list? Be sure to drop into the comments and tell us all about it! Other than that, we hope to see you on the leaderboards when Trials Fusion releases for Xbox One and Xbox 360 on April 16th.