Review: Urban Trial Freestyle looks beautiful yet feels eerily familiar
To the untrained eye, it would be easy to assume that Urban Trial Freestyle is part of the Trials franchise by RedLynx. You play as a motorcycle rider on a 2D, one direction platform where you travel across difficult obstacles for a high score. It’s not only a similar concept, it’s a very similar concept. Hell, it even has “Trial” in the title. Is this a case of 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'?
The campaign consists of riding through two types of stages. Time Trials and Stunt Trials. The former are relatively self explanatory, as you're tasked with reaching the finish line as quickly as possible. The Stunt trials are a little more inventive, and definitely more fun. These stages will task you with performing tricks, landing them correctly and accurately, jumping high and far, and traveling fast.
Indicators will tell you when you can do a trick for extra points which will help in gaining more stars. These trick locations include high jumps, long jumps, and flips. What’s exceptionally groovy about this system, is that it shows one line of your greatest jump and then another line for the greatest jump performed by another player. If you’re a completionist, or rather, have a spirit of competition, this will give you incentive to go back and try to beat other players' best scores.
Each level also has special gold bag collectibles. These money bags unlock various items like different upgrades for your motorcycle, as well as outfits for your rider. The clothing pieces are purely aesthetic, and won't change the performance of your rider, but you'll want to constantly upgrade your bike, as later levels will certainly require it.
The levels themselves look gorgeous. For a 2D game, the background and foreground play a huge role in action and survival, and are pretty inventive. Did I just see an eyeball pop out of the giant clown head, and is now ready to run me over, Raiders of the Lost Ark-style? It's these types of set pieces (and trust me there are many) that give the game some extra charm, and if anything, help it differentiate itself from the other Trials games.
The controls are responsive, and it looks beautiful. The added incentive to beat other players' scores is appreciated, though it is slightly disappointing that as far as multiplayer goes, that's all you're getting. There also isn’t a level creator like the ones found in the Trials franchise, which makes the limited level diversity also a bit of a letdown. Trials HD and Trials Evolution fans will find familiarity in Urban Trial Freestyle with enough style to set it apart, but it has ways to go until it hopes to dethrone Redlynx's masterful titles.
[Reviewed on PC]