Also On: 3DS
Publisher: Tate Interactive
Developer: Tate Interactive
Urban Trial Freestyle's flaws are both many and obvious. It's a blatant clone of Trials HD. It's hideously ugly. The difficulty spikes are totally random. With only a handful of tracks available, it seems short. In nearly every respect, it's pretty lacking in customization options. There's no cross-buy or cross-play between the PS3 and Vita versions. Basically, what I'm trying to say is, if you're looking for reasons not to play Urban Trial Freestyle, it won't be hard to find them.
Here's why you should play it, though: it's really freaking addictive.
Don't get me wrong, I couldn't stand the game at first. I was ready to bash it for all the reasons enumerated above, and more. And yet…every time I played it, I'd find myself going back and doing tracks again, and again, and again. I'd find that even after I aced one mode on a track, there were still others that I hadn't yet mastered. Invariably, I'd look up at some point, and see that I'd suddenly lost an hour or two. If that doesn't speak to the game being at least passably enjoyable, I don't know what does.
Of course, it's entirely possible that Urban Trial Freestyle isn't a particularly worthwhile investment, and that its combination of leaderboards and stars simply triggered a Pavlovian gaming response that I was powerless to resist. Or, alternatively, maybe it's actually a good game?
Okay, maybe "good" is overstating things a little. Any game that has so many obvious things wrong with it can't be described as good. But Urban Trial Freestyle deserves credit where credit is due: it knows how to keep things deceptively simple so that you'll instantly get how to play, and it offers just enough rewards that you'll be interested and engaged enough to keep playing. In other words, it won't win Game of the Year, but it will keep you playing for awhile — and really, what more can a game do?