In some bike levels, you have a gun. This is fine. You aim with the other analogue stick and shoot guards, turrets and mutated neon growths. It’s a brief, additional wrinkle on top of the basic challenge. In other bike levels, you have a grappling hook. This is also fine. Mostly it’s used for when you don’t have enough speed to clear a large gap. That makes it an inoffensive but unnecessary addition—not unlike Trials Fusion’s trick system.
Often, woefully, you are not on your bike. Instead you’re platforming, or using a jetpack, or doing a stealth section. This is not fine. I laughed, sharply and bitterly, after I made my first on-foot jump in Trials of the Blood Dragon. Everything about the platforming feels wrong. The sense of weight, the momentum, the trajectory. It’s not that it’s frustrating—most of the platforming sections are trivial. Rather, the basic interactions feel unpleasant. I can’t think of another game in which the act of jumping is so singularly off putting. I curated PC Gamer’s free games column for years, and almost every sidescrolling platformer I played felt better than this, oftentimes significantly so.
For the most part, this is the easiest Trials game RedLynx has released. There’s no advanced bunnyhopping or vertical scaling—anyone who knows the Trials series should have little trouble with the biking sections. There are difficulty spikes, though. In one section, you’re asked to tow a trailer carrying a bomb that explodes if things get too bumpy. This is annoying, and only gets worse when the bike is destroyed and you switch to the jetpack. Flying isn’t as bad as platforming—not that that’s saying much—but the enforced fail state makes for an appalling level.