Urban Trial Freestyle 3DS
We likely don’t need to explain away the success surrounding the Trials series. Charging along on a dirt bike and leaping through the air is always a joy, especially when you can press a button for an immediate restart – as is the case for the smash-hit series developed by RedLynx, and of course the whimsical Joe Danger. Fast, accessible thrills are once again the major draw, but does ‘Urban Trial Freestyle 3DS’ merely burn rubber off the coat tails of its well-worn predecessors?
You might be surprised to discover that the game really has nothing to do with the big-name Trials series at all. Instead, it takes the look and gameplay of Trials Evolution (minus the outlandish skill games) and attempts to make them its own. It’s a production that makes good on its urban premise, dishing out tracks that look to have been crafted from bits of wood, scrap metal and other junkyard material. If anything, they’ll often seem more makeshift than the tracks found in Trials Evolution, throwing in some split-second surprises to knock you off your feet and back to the last checkpoint.
You won’t always see failure coming, as you gleefully tear down a course one moment only to face- plant into a rolling vehicle the next. You’ll smack headlong into a number of objects which are unavoidable on your first try, so expect to restart more than a few times if you’re a gamer who shoots for a perfect score. One moment in particular requires you to either charge at full speed to avoid a falling crate, or to hit the brakes and find a way over. Such moments keep things fresh without becoming overused, though the game could have used an extra trick or two to set itself apart from its obvious inspiration. A little more creativity could have gone a long way.
What you’re getting is a set of twenty tracks set in five sectors of a city map. You’ll find little difference in theme between these areas, but at least you can tackle them in bite-sized chunks of four each time, or take them on one at a time if you so choose. Whether it’s in Stunt Mode or Time Trial, the game grades you on performance and unlocks content accordingly. It’s not initially hard to gain access to the main sectors of the city itself, but getting to the tough Challenge levels is tricky by demanding a five star rating in each sector before finally opening that last chunk of gameplay. It’s probably not a great thing to wall off stages considering the game’s short length, though attaining licenses in Trials Evolution could be every bit as difficult.
Unless you’re going for that five star rating (and you probably should to get your money’s worth), it’s a less frustrating affair than you might expect. This does at least make replaying the stages a fun prospect, despite the lack of levels and shiny extra gameplay modes. Urban Trial Freestyle allows you to collect the money scattered about each stage and spend it on items of clothing and bike mods – or new bikes altogether – so your rider looks all the more impressive on the track. Fans will find something to reach for in this respect, but even this fails to extend the life of the game beyond a handful of hours.
Despite the absence of a multiplayer mode, a form of leaderboard is available if you choose to connect to the internet. Patient types can build their own custom tracks in the course creator, but they shouldn’t expect to be heaped with praise given the complete omission of a sharing capability. It’s truly bizarre that you’re expected to spend hours tinkering and then keep them all to yourself, but perhaps it’s something that can be corrected in future instalments.
Graphically speaking, Urban Trial Freestyle on the Nintendo 3DS is a well-presented game. It looks a whole lot better with the 3D slider cranked up too, which isn’t something that every game on the 3DS can boast about. It’s got the fun of the Trials series (which we can’t help but continue to reference, and fairly so) yet severely lacks in the content department. It’s far from an expensive download and will keep stunt course addicts happy for the bus ride home, serving up the kind of bite-sized biking that works so well in smaller bursts. It may not be especially creative or unique, but Urban Trial Freestyle makes for a welcome distraction while RedLynx plans its next move. It may be a wannabe, but it’s a decent one all the same.
This review is based on a downloadable copy provided by the publisher.
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