Urban Trial Freestyle – Review

A review of Urban Trial Freestyle I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

The trick with porting a game from a home system to a handheld system is maintaining the spirit of the game.

You can never quite manage to fit the experience of a big console game into your hands (although the Vita is getting close) but as long as it feels the same then it doesn’t matter. It’s about distilling the game down, concentrating it’s essence and making sure that the good stuff carries over. If you don’t do that then everything is a bit pointless. This is where Urban Trial Freestyle for the 3DS comes in.

What we have here is a racing game, one that takes it’s influence from the Xbox 360 game Trials HD; you race from one end of the track to the other navigating the terrain on your bike. This is where the skill comes into it; having Urban in the title this means that the game takes place in Urban environments which means that there are all manner of obstacles in your way. The are cars you need to drive over, fences to jump over, all whilst trying to keep your bike on it’s wheels and get to the end in the fastest time. There are also stunts in each track, sections where you have to jump the longest or furthest in order to get a higher score. And that higher score is what the game comes down to; getting the highest score and getting five out of five stars for each and every track.

Urban Trial was previously released on the PS3 via the PlayStation Network as well as on the PlayStation Vita so the game has taken a bit of a visual demotion in order to get it onto the 3DS. This isn’t to say that it looks bad, just it looks a little rougher around the edges.

The other thing that the game loses isn’t it’s own fault; the online aspects of the game. What makes this kind of game is the constant competition with your friends, the constant messages in the game that tell you they’ve just bested one of your score. Which is fine on PSN where that kind of integration is part of the service but this is on a Nintendo console. The Nintendo Network is nowhere near as robust as that, the best times and stats are uploaded but it’s never as in your face as on the PSN version, and because of that it doesn’t generate that competitive feeling that keeps you playing a game. Urban Trial does, however, give you a track editor with lots of customisation options but no way to share these with other people making it pretty much useless for now.

Urban Trials is a game that has that air about it of a game pushed onto a platform to tick a box. This type of game thrives on leaderboards being shared between players to drive them on but the 3DS can’t provide that so ends up being a bit of a poor fit for the system. It’s not a bad game, it’s just like playing a multiplayer party game by yourself; a bit pointless.

Three stars out of five

Originally published July 10th 2013

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