Publisher: Tate Interactive
Urban Trial Freestyle for the 3DS is a port of the PSN title by the same name, and was recently released on the Nintendo eShop. While not as flashy as its PSN predecessor, this is a surprisingly solid port of the Trials HD clone. And considering there’s not a lot like it available on the 3DS, and that it’s actually fun to play, I feel confident enough in its quality to suggest picking it up.
This isn’t the best example of motorbike stunt driving for consoles, which pretty much begins and ends with the stellar Trials HD series on Xbox Live Arcade and PC. But Urban Trial Freestyle is certainly one of the more competent clones on the market, much more so than the recently released and abysmal Motorbike on PSN. And again, the 3DS isn’t really swimming in Trials clones, but even without that caveat I think UTF is worth a look.
This is a dialed back experience from the home console version of the game. While the majority of the tracks make the transition over, you’ll notice that a lot of different animations and events are cut entirely. Certain sequences, like a track that features a long jump across an oncoming train, are cut entirely. Some of these voids feel a little odd, and even if you haven’t played the game on PS3 you’ll still be able to tell that something is missing at different parts.
Also, the framerate seems noticeably lower. It’s not broken by any means, but if you pay close enough attention to the bike, particularly the wheels of the bike, you’ll see the frame skips present. I didn’t feel like this impacted the gameplay much though, even for the trick portions of the events you can race in I never felt that the experience was hampered in some way.
One aspect that I did enjoy on the 3DS compared to the PS3 version of the game is the way the track selections are split up. Both versions of the game feature trick events and time trials for each available track. On the PSN these tracks are mixed in across a series of locations, and you’ll need to earn stars on each event in order to proceed to the next. On the 3DS the trick events and the time trials are completely separate, so if you wanted you could play though just the trick events entirely and then move onto the time trials. While the stage selections are the same, separating these events makes forward progression feel pretty easy.
The biggest addition to Urban Trial Freestyle on the 3DS is the inclusion of a track editor. This is a pretty nice addition to have, even if your options for sharing it are limited. You’ve got 30 slots to fill with creations, and eight different settings to choose from which will dictate the overall layout of each track. Once you’ve chosen a setting you can start laying down objects, play testing the track, and setting up different checkpoints. The touch screen navigation and item placement makes the creation process feel pretty simple, and it’s easy enough to drag, drop, and rotate pieces into place. I’m not the world’s best track or level creator when it comes to tools like these in video games, but Urban Trial Freestyle makes this process feel painless and easy to pick up on.
Besides these additions and changes, the overall experience in comparison to the console version of the game is largely unchanged. You’ve got a handful of bikes to pick from and parts to upgrade that’ll affect speed and handling. There are money bags to collect in hard to reach places for each track, and a number of rider customization options that can be purchased. The visuals take a hit, but the audio and music selection, limited as it is, seems unchanged. Also, the controls feel pretty comparable, as do the physics, and I didn’t find any noticeable issues with the slide pad in comparison to standard analog controls on the PS3.
All in all, I think Urban Trial Freestyle is worth a look. It won’t top something like Trials HD, but if you keep your expectations in check you’ll have some fun with it. While noticeably pared down from the console version of the game, the addition of the track editor is well worth a double dip, and I enjoyed the structure of the campaign mode here more so than the PSN version of the game. So if you’ve got some spare cash on your eShop account, you should probably check this out.