If you have any sympathy for ragdoll men then look away now. Avert your eyes, for this little motorbike man’s suffering knows no limits. Why, man? Why keep getting back on the bike? You’ll only end up in a broken heap at the bottom of the ramp, your bike upended, wheels spinning forlornly. That’s if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky you’ll have broken every single bone in your little body. When that happens, it probably won’t help that all you’ll be able to hear is my cruel, mocking laughter, because this game is so, so funny.
If, like me, you have no sympathy whatsoever for little ragdoll men, you’ll find Trials 2 to be the most hilarious thing since Sumotori Nights. Mechanically it’s a 2D game, speed up slow down, lean forwards or lean backwards. Using some nifty jiggling and/or sheer speed you’ll negotiate a series of courses in increasing difficulty. Oh yes, Trackmania style, you’ll be ranked against every single other person who’se played this game in the world as well. No pressure.
It’s not about winning, or coming in the top 10,000 though, it’s about the wounding, the horrible, hilarious wounding. The bike behaves as though all it wants to do is launch itself into orbit, and you’ll be fighting it every step of the way. This means that, even with pure intentions, your rider will be regularly slammed/impales/crushed by the various maliciously placed obstacles in the game. Take the start of one course, you have to ride through a concrete pipe, but it’s slightly smaller than you and your bike, and unless you lean backwards in just the right way your rider will be almost decapitated by the impact. it’s that mixture of horror and laughter every time you crash that really provides the appeal.
Trials 2 knows what it’s doing, it’s all about fast and spectacular gratification. You’re two clicks away from loading up the game and getting straight into a course. Pressing backspace instantly sends you back to a checkpoint, another button will instantly start the race. There’s no waiting around, there’s no loading screens, it’s fast and efficient. There’s rather a sudden difficulty hike towards later levels, and there could do with being a few more courses at lower difficulties. An editor to allow the creation of user-created levels would also be welcome, extending the game’s longevity that much more.
It’s £5.99 on Steam at the moment, and you could do a lot worse for the money if you’re looking for something quick and brutal, but be assured, this ‘aint no sim, and is about as shallow as they come. You’re money’s going to be buying quick, accesible lulz, which of course is no bad thing.