Out This Week

Trials Evolution

Touch Of Evel

Trials Evolution headlines this week’s new releases.

By John Teti • April 17, 2012

Out This Week is a roundup of new games that are out this week. These listings don’t constitute an endorsement or a review of any sort. We also don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive list. If there’s a game on the horizon that interests you, share it in the comments.

Trials Evolution
Xbox 360—April 18

Trials Evolution is a sequel to Trials HD, the fun motorcycle stunt racing game from 2009. The Trials series is essentially a cross between the old NES game Excitebike and a YouTube video of an insane person riding his bicycle. What innovations can you expect in Evolution? Judging by the trailer above, the new game will include louder electric guitars and a greater quantity of Adobe-After-Effects-motion-blurred explosions. In terms of slapstick humor—a large part of the Trials charm—I’m intrigued by the wobbly-UFO mode and the bit where the guy uses his skis as wings, presumably known as the Kids, Go Ahead And Try This At Home mode. Trials Evolution also includes an editor tool with which you can build your own tracks, a thing you will never do.

MacGuffin’s Curse
iPad, iPhone, Mac, PC—April 19

Everything has a season. A few years ago, the classic “adventure” genre—a woefully nonspecific name for games that rely on puzzle-solving, exploration, and a dialogue-driven story—wasn’t the most lively corner of the gaming world. But now these games are enjoying a minor renaissance, as players weary of hype and high-tech fetishism acquire a taste for a more literary—and, in general, more literate—experience. (And even though they might be considered old-school, adventures games are typically much more accessible to the novice than your average console fare.) MacGuffin’s Curse, “a werewolf comedy puzzle adventure,” is a product of that renaissance. It’s produced by Brawsome, the Australian studio that created last year’s acclaimed Jolly Rover, which was a pirate comedy puzzle adventure. So they’re in a groove now.

Sketch Nation Studio
iPad, iPhone—April 17

What’s the number-one problem with the iTunes App Store? If you said, “It’s too hard to find slapdash, generic games that are transparent ripoffs of App Store bestsellers,” then Sketch Nation Studio is your savior. The app invites users to create their own game by sketching characters and plugging them into pre-made templates that emulate iPhone hits like Doodle Jump and Jetpack Joyride. Users can even publish their game to the App Store (after the makers of Sketch Nation Studio screen it for quality and propriety). Think of it as LittleBigPlanet Lite—really Lite. And like LittleBigPlanet, Sketch Nation Studio is one of those games that I admire because its heart is in the right place, but that doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to the “user-generated content” that will result.

Card game

Nefarious cards

Here are a couple of things that I like about Nefarious, a card game in which you play a mad scientist intent on taking over the world. First, you can build flying cars. I’m a sucker for a flying-car joke. Second, it was designed by Donald X. Vaccarino, which sounds like the name of a mad scientist. Vaccarino is also the designer of the popular deck-building game Dominion, so Nefarious has a good pedigree. The fine people at BoardGameGeek report that Nefarious is trickling out to retail now, and hey, they would know.

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190 Responses to “Touch Of Evel”

  1. Aaron Riccio says:

    I really want me some Nefarious, so I hope those rumors are true. I’ve waited too long for a proper Mad Scientist game, all while enduring tedious ones like Lunch Money (a bullying game).

  2. BobbyBrownGoesDown says:

    4 weeks today! Diablo III!

    Just keeping you guys on your toes.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Will Diablo III kill the burgeoning community of commentators here, or will we find that there’s no correlation between looters and typillagers?

      • dreadguacamole says:

         Considering most people probably post here while procrastinating at work, I doubt it.

    • root (1ltc) says:

      Will Diablo III kill the burgeoning community of commentators here

      Nah, I don’t think so.

      I’ll go play some Nethack if I want to play a roguelike.

      My wife preordered the game from newegg recently. I wonder if I’ll ever play it. Doubt it.

      • dreadguacamole says:

          They scratch two different itches, though -Diablo is a rougue-like in the same way Ace Combat is a flight sim.
         I’ll play both for sure, but though I have no doubt I’ll be playing Angband or Stone Soup long after I’m done with Diablo 3.

  3. LetoII says:

    Hey! I just caved in and bought Trials HD after playing the demo for months. It’s actually pretty dang fun, if frustratingly hard at times.

  4. cowtron says:

    I can’t tell if the Trials Evo synopsis is an ironic summary because of course everyone knows about Trials Evo and that it’s going to be amazing in every way so why bother talking about it, or if Mr. Teti just has no idea whatsoever about this game that’s amazing in dang near every way.

  5. Brett B says:

    Very excited for Trials Evo. There were moments in HD that were absurdly difficult, but in that “just one more attempt”-kind of way that wound up being 500 more attempts. I never was able to beat that last level, though.

  6. Raging Bear says:

    “…editor tool with which you can build your own tracks, a thing you will never do.”

    Why is this so true? It always seems like such an awesome idea, then all you end up doing is spending an hour trying to learn the interface, give up and use a template you can’t actually improve at all, and eventually resign yourself to sticking with the built-in levels as you contemplate the folly of all ambition.

    • cowtron says:

      NO.  Well I’m sympathetic to procrastination, but when you do finally get around to it, playing in the editor brings you closer to the heart of the game in a way that playing it off-the-shelf generally won’t.  Taking control of those basic design elements puts you in the shoes of the game creators so you’ve got more insight into track design in general, and the whole rigamarole of testing your track, playing parts over and over again, each time around with different subtle variations, takes you down all kinds of unexpected rabbit holes and greatly deepens your understanding of the mechanics of the game.  Not to mention being a part of the amateur track design community is kind of awesome.  People are going to do amazing things with this editor guys.

      • Raging Bear says:

        Granted, I was speaking mostly from my LBP experiences. I assumed People Who Really Use Level Editors were just a myth, and all those levels that keep turning up are mostly swamp gas, but I guess I could be wrong.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           @Raging_Bear:disqus – It’s well worth diving into the user-generated LBP levels; the community has managed to create some stunning levels. It’s been too long since I tried any of them, so I don’t really have any recommendations, but choose any high-rated one with a description that doesn’t sound like complete shit and you should be set.
           The tools for this Trials game are supposedly what they used to build the levels shipped with the game (a claim I’m usually a bit sceptical of.)

        • Raging Bear says:

          @dreadguacamole:disqus Well, I exaggerate, but I have actually played some really good user-made LBP levels (in fact, full disclosure, I even made one. Not “good” by any stretch, and in fact more of a one-room gag than anything like a level). Still, the noise-to-signal ratio there is quite significant.

  7. Arlo says:

    Oh woah MacGuffin’s Curse is out soon. I vaguely Internet know one of the developers for it and he’s a super nice guy plus Jolly Rover was charming so I will get this.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      From my experience with it, I can tell you that it’s just as funny as Jolly Rover, and if the puzzles ever frustrate you (solving them’s not always that hard — implementing the solution is just sometimes annoying), you can skip ’em!

  8. GhaleonQ says:

    Botanicula, you have until Fire Emblem arrives from Japan to impress me.  You had better do it!  (You will.)

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I just started playing it; fun and quirky, but so far it’s felt more like “playing” an interactive e-card than a game.

  9. dreadguacamole says:

     This last week has been full of awesome as far as RPGs go. Legends of Grimrock, a new Avernum remake (Avernum- Escape from the Pit, which managed to pull me away from Grimrock even when I’ve already played the previous versions!) and the Witcher 2 on the Xbox, which has got to be the best console port I’ve ever seen. There’s also a huge -and free- update to the PC version, so if you needed an excuse for a second playthrough…

  10. PappyBojiggity says:

    Excite-bike meets explosions and additional dimensions? It may be crap but I can see it killing time until Diablo comes out.

  11. Stummies says:

    Nefarious looks great…will have to read up on that. Meanwhile, if anyone is playing Dominion on Isotropic, hit me up for a game with this username.

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      I’m going to have to check out this interface now (I’ve been using BS, but that’s all German and limits the cards from each set); I’ll hit you up once I’ve tooled around a bit.