Console arcade hit Trials recently made the leap to mobile in the form of Trials Frontier, but was largely watered down and coated in sickly freemium sugar. In a subsequent conversation with a mate, we conceded that a faithful conversion would probably be too ambitious for ye olde touchscreen.
But wait! What’s this? Urban Trial Freestyle (don’t say Trials plural, ahem), a game that’s more Trials than Trials.
To be honest, I wasn’t hugely impressed with Urban Trial Freestyle at first. In fact, my negativity receptors went super-tingly as I was immediately instructed to sign in with Facebook or create a brand new UTF account. Sigh.
Throw in some rather ambiguous buttons on the main menu (something that’s fast becoming one of my biggest UI bugbears) and the lack of any sort of tutorial, and I was fully expecting to find myself playing an absolute stinker.
But nope, turns out Urban Trial Freestyle is pretty freakin’ good, offering all the trial-and-error you-make-me-want-to-punch-the-screen goodness we’d hoped for in Trials Frontier. In fact, I even had to double check I wasn’t playing an official Trials game.
For those unfamiliar with the Trials formula, the bottom left thingamajig lets you tilt your bike back and forward as necessary, while the bottom right buttons invite you to accelerate, brake and stop completely.
Urban Trial Freestyle offers a variety of environments, namely Downtown, Outskirts, Industrial, Underground and Train Depot, with three game modes: Stunt, Time Attack and Challenges.
You can also create your own tracks from 150 unique objects and share them online, and furthermore fully customise your bike and rider.
I should also take a moment to praise Urban Trial Freestyle’s visuals, and the way the camera moves around to provide an almost 3D effect. There’s plenty of stuff going on in the levels too, including falling cars, moving platforms, speeding trains, precarious pipes and loop the loops.
And that’s Urban Trial Freestyle, an utterly shameless Trials clone, right down to the name, but it’s really rather good. Perhaps not as polished as Trials Frontier, but the core gameplay is arguably more focused; there’s no messing about with in-app purchases (IAPs), no tedious talking and no shoehorned story.
- More faithful to the console games than Trials Frontier
- No IAPs or talking or story, just biking
- Looks great, lots of stuff going on
- No tutorial
- Confusing/ambiguous menus
- Mandatory account sign-up
Summary: Urban Trial Freestyle is a shameless Trials clone, but since Trials Frontier chooses to busy itself with freemium nonsense, you’ll forgive us for rolling out the welcome mat for the impostor.
Developer: Tate Multimedia
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 5.1.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.