Tate Interactive’s Urban Trial Freestyle is a side scrolling motorbike stunt racer. You play as a bare chested, monosyllabic, grunting, hairy hillbilly biker. He’s pretty fearless. Bouncing off double decker buses and surviving 50ft drops from roof tops never seem to fluster this biker from hell. Shifting weight over obstacles and ramps in an attempt to get from A to B, Usain Bolt style, is what this game is all about. You always travel in a straight line and with the minimal controls it may not be as easy as it seems. There have been other trial games out there, but Urban Trial Freestyle on the PS Vita is the one that I’ve had my eye on.
The intro of the game kicks off with an explosive start. Sirens, police chatter and a backstreet chase, it could easily be a two wheeled Need For Speed we are watching here.
The game starts with 2 training levels. Here you learn the basics and how to control your bike. Utilising accelerate and brake is how you’re going to progress and win. The game is spread across 5 different urban environments. These beautifully designed backgrounds look stunning on the Vita. Skidding trucks, exploding cars and flocks of geese all make up the interesting chaotic background. Everything looks so sharp and crisp, it really has the look and feel of a full priced release. The handling is excellent too, a little poke on the accelerator and you will wheelie onto the first ramp. Using the left stick sees you shift your weight back and forth. You are totally in control of the power house machine for every millisecond you’re riding. The over the top stunts, death defying jumps, rolling burning cars and train carriage collapses are spectacular. Put it this way, Jason Statham would feel very at home in Urban Trial Freestyle. You will fall from your bike many times either by collapsing floors giving way, exploding canisters sending you skyward or simply connecting face to concrete but don’t worry, a simple tap on the triangle face button sees you remount at the last check point. There’s not even time to have a slurp of your favourite energy drink, the restart is super quick and how it should be. The way to move forward in the game is to collect stars which unlock later levels. You’ll also find bags of money which are littered along the way in hard to reach places, so you’ll find yourself replaying earlier levels to improve your star rating. Another sure way you’ll want to keep coming back is the added bonus of having your snap shot up on billboards if your times warrants it. This is a really welcome added extra which makes putting time into each track worthwhile.
Later in the game there is a certain degree of puzzle solving as the tracks become more creative. Industrial Hell leaves little to the imagine. The use of brakes here is a must in order to move on because balancing your metal machine from trigger pads to safer ground can be tricky. Other tracks like Concrete Kiss…well you sort of know what to expect here.
In Urban Trial Freestyle you can also upgrade your bike. If you have the money then engines, chassis and tyres can all be upgraded. Finding those hard to access bags of cash are even more important now. Spending this hard earned cash can also be used on fashion items. Rough and ready gloves, boots and tees can make your biker look slightly less like the love child of Evil Knievel and ZZ Top.
Challenge mode sees you needing to perform exploding jumps and other dangerous death defying stunts. Again each stunt needs to be unlocked one by one. Just like the classic Motorstorm RC leaderboard system, Urban Trial uses a similar system which makes the game rewarding to the more pro player. If shaving seconds off your best lap time is for you then head to the Playstation store right now. The game has 7 bronze, 4 silver and a gold trophy up for grabs also. The added attraction of some DLC in the near future would be a good move.
Tate Multimedia’s Urban Trial Freestyle is a fine stunt racer, offering depth and a real rewarding challenge. Stunning visuals, precise bike handling and community leaderboards make this dangerous trials racer a must. Clear that memory card, Urban Trial Freestyle has arrived.
8/10 lizard rating – laid flat out in the mud lapping this up!
Release Date: 20.2.13
Publisher: Tate Interactive
Developer: Tate Interactive