'Urban Trial Freestyle', a video game from Tate Multimedia.
There's a fairly popular game available via XBLA called Trials HD, which is a physics based motorbike stunt platformer title from developer RedLynx. Tate Multimedia, a competing developer, made their own version not too long ago for PSN called Urban Trial Freestyle. Now, 3DS owners can give it a go with the latter of the two titles.
Offering a good, yet dialed-back experience of the PSN game, Urban Trial Freestyle for 3DS makes the best of Nintendo's less powerful gaming handheld. Those who've played the original on PS3 or Vita will probably notice that the new version's frame rate isn't quite up to snuff nor are the animations quite the same. Then again, they'll probably also notice that the game is now presented in 3D. Sometimes you have to take a little to give a little. Regardless, the game looks rather good and animations run smoothly throughout - all with a gritty, urban hard rock soundtrack blaring in the background.
In terms of the game's normal controls, it might have one of the more user-friendly control schemes on the platform. Tate Multimedia keeps things simple by using the right and left portions of the D-pad control the rider's balance with three of the four action buttons controlling acceleration, brake, and reverse. The final action button, 'X', is relegated to quickly returning a fallen motorcyclist to the most recently passed checkpoint within a level.
The game itself consists of six areas with four tracks on each on which players will take their mildly-customizable motorbikes. None of the courses really take all that long to complete - a matter of minutes, in fact. While this might be viewed as a negative for some, for a game on a portable platform such as the 3DS it's actually a bit of a positive due to its out-and-about nature. Besides, every one of the game's tracks offer great replay value not only for players wanting to improve upon their last attempt, but also in the alternate play modes the game offers.
For example, one of the unlockable play modes is called "Challenge Mode". While frustrating at times, it's interesting in that it uses the 3DS' gyroscope functionality to alter the gravity at which the bike rides.
Urban Trial Freestyle also offers a modest track builder. In principle, it's a great thing to have in such a small game. In practice, it's execution is questionable. While it's moderately simple to use, its parts and pieces seem haphazardly organized and it will test the player's patience just as much as it will their adeptness at the game once a custom level is completed. Still, for those dedicated enough to tough it out and make a halfway decent track, it can be well worth the trouble.
Overall, Tate Multimedia's Urban Trial Freestyle on 3DS is worth the time of most 3DS owners. While the Pokémon crowd might not get into it to well, their brothers/fathers/uncles/etc probably will.
Version tested: 3DS
(Tate Multimedia supplied a copy of this game for review.)
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