Game Reviews

Urban Trial Freestyle

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
Urban Trial Freestyle

There's no denying it. Urban Trial Freestyle is - to be diplomatic in my wording - a loving homage to Trials HD.

Copy, clone, cool new version of a game on another platform - however you want to look at it, the similarities to RedLynx's runaway success are evident. You're on a bike, there's a rocking soundtrack, and you're a rad dude driving across gnarly terrain.

Though it's a very good entry in the two-wheeled, physics-based, time trial and tricks-focused action game genre, there's a lack of originality here that keeps Urban Trial Freestyle from being a classic.

Trials and tribulations

You control a motorbike rider in various shattered landscapes - all dust, mud, rubble, and rust - and it's up to you to guide him from one end of the course to the other. To do so you fly over perilous objects by jumping off ramps, bomb down hills at great speed, loop-de-loop, and carry out all other manner of derring do-ery.

As with Trials HD, success relies on achieving an infinitesimally delicate, organic mastery of the analogue stick.

Just the tiniest of leans of your rider in either direction can drastically alter the way your bike interacts with the track. A good example of this is landing on steep ascending slopes: lean forward too much while you land and you'll bounce backwards down the hill, but lean back too much and you could end up flipping the bike.

Urban Trial Freestyle isn't as accurate in this area as its inspiration, but it still requires dedication and skill to make it through the 40-odd levels, collecting bags of money to upgrade your bike along the way.

Muddy, good

Most levels are continuous, spiky, angled slogs that you have to zip through as quickly as possible, but there are also some specific challenges embedded in them. Drive as fast as you can, jump a certain distance, reach a certain height: these all factor into your total score at the end of each race.

Brilliantly, that these sections have their own online leaderboards, and you'll see a picture of the current number one when you drive past. Trying to get your face on these billboards is a compelling objective.

The presentation lets the package down a bit. It's not as sharp as it could be, with textures occasionally looking (unintentionally) muddy, and there's a number of jaggy lines scattered about the polygonal models. This has gameplay ramifications, as it's occasionally difficult to distinguish background scenery from foreground objects.

And the less written about the turgid rock soundtrack, the better.

Urban Trial Freestyle is a copy, and like any copy it's not perfect. The lack of innovation and the iffy visuals make the whole package a little lacklustre. If you're positively craving a Trials-ish game on your handheld, though, this is as good an outlet as any.

Urban Trial Freestyle

Clearly inspired by Trials HD, Urban Trial Freestyle doesn't do enough to make it memorable, but the physics-racing is nevertheless fun, while it lasts
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.