Fun and competition thrive in Trial Madness 2 for Facebook

If there’s one kind of game that’s hard to find on Facebook these days (and gaming platforms in general, for that matter), it’s the simple but maddeningly challenging games that defined the gaming scene in the 1980s. Trial Madness 2 fills this void nicely. You won’t find deep social options or ambitious graphics here, but you will find hours of addicting gameplay that force you to learn how to navigate a motocross bike through ancient ruins and down the necks of giraffes.

It’s a good thing, then, that Trial Madness 2 is refreshingly easy to pick up. Gameplay focuses exclusively on your keyboard’s directional keys, which you use to steer your bike through a pleasing jumble of landscapes and obstacles in a tiered series of short, timed levels. Press “up” and you accelerate; press “down” and you put on the brakes. Press “left” and you pull back on the bike; press “right” and you lean in. It never gets more complicated than that, but getting far in the game requires an almost religious understanding of the subtleties involved in each movement.

Trial Madness 2

In other words, this isn’t a racing game that lets you barrel through most levels at breakneck speeds (although there are bonus stages for that kind of thing); instead, you need to precariously balance your bike over the uneven piles of crates, vehicles, and trees thrown in your way. It’s a lot tougher than it sounds, and you can easily flip over if you lean too far in one direction. And yes, that means you’ll crash again and again until you get it right. At higher levels the difficulty is such that you cover the span of a few feet at a snail’s pace, and some fairly short levels feature time objectives numbering around three and a half minutes.

That might be a little too much madness to tolerate for some players were it not for the game’s finely tuned controls and super-fast loading times, which bump you back at the beginning of the track within a split second after you hit the prompt. Even better, the levels are sufficiently different from one another than you never feel like you’re caught in a carbon copy of a level you’ve already completed. And while it gets very hard at points, you never feel as though your loss was the game’s fault instead of your own.

Trial Madness 2

But can you brag? Trial Madness 2 doesn’t have much in the way of traditional social features aside from leaderboards, stats, and a somewhat pointless customizable avatar, but it’s not the kind of game that needs much more than that. Instead, its best value lies in its real-time multiplayer options, which allow you to compete for the best time against others players for gold. If you win, your gold could buy items for your avatar or access into more exclusive tournaments. And the best part? Developer Social Point places almost no restrictions on how often you can play.

This is one of those casual social games that could spawn a hardcore addiction, particularly if you hang around in the multiplayer lounge. It approaches the sublime accessibility of greats like Bejeweled Blitz. We were particularly happy to see that it shuns the “beta” title that seems to be a permanent fixture of most Facebook games, and even now Trial Madness 2 plays very much like a finished product. Take this game for a spin, but be warned: you’re in for a rough but exciting ride.