It's probably a good job that Trials HD is only available on Xbox Live Arcade.
If RedLynx was to put it in a box, it would probably be under the proviso that the sleeve be plastered with warnings like "Playing Trials HD may cause the collapse of relationships and social life," or "Trials HD may result in eye-twitchingly obsessive behaviour."
The deceptively simple concept belies a seriously addictive game. In Trials HD your task is to get your motocross rider from one end of a course to the other.
This would be straightforward were it not for the devious level design. Ramps, chasms and other obstacles litter the tracks, and you'll have to use a combination of skilful acceleration, braking and inch-perfect weight shifting to negotiate them.
That may sound easy enough to hardened thumb bandits, but by the Hard difficulty it becomes extremely tough to complete stages, let alone earn a gold medal. Got the gold medal? Better check that none of your friends have a faster time on the leaderboard. Beaten your mates? Check out the replay of the fastest player in the world and prepare to head back to the drawing board.
There's always some objective to complete, especially when you factor in the hilarious novelty skill games. These include performing an extended wheelie to prevent your front wheel falling off, as well as being launched around an enormous pinball table by enormous paddles.
The best (and worst) part of the game is the instant restart button - no load times, the level just starts again. The lack of hanging around means you don't mind restarting after tiny errors, but the compulsive muscle-memory hammering of the back button means you'll still be playing the game, bleary-eyed, at 3am.
Playing Trials HD is like having RedLynx sitting behind you performing complex brain surgery to manually tweak your fun neurons. It's brilliantly crafted and utterly bonkers.
What's more, with such layered and near-endless challenges, not to mention the addition of a remarkably powerful level creator, you'll be firing this up for a quick blast for years to come. We don't say this often, deeply cynical as we are, but if for some ludicrous self-abusing reason you only buy one XBLA game this year, make it Trials HD.
What, pray tell, are you waiting for?
- Insanely addictive
- Looks gorgeous
- You can create your own tracks
- Hilarious skill games
- No more social life