Cloning games are in the vogue it seems. Most often than not, it is a complete downgrade and an insult to the original game it was inspired by, but there are exceptions to this. Urban Trial Freestyle is a bike game on the PS Vita that is inspired by Ubisoft’s Trials series on XBLA.
Those games were critically acclaimed and the formula was something special. It seems replicating that formula is quite easy too since Urban Trial Freestyle is a really fun game filled with tons of content. And the great thing is that it’s suited for the crisp screen of the PS Vita.
Having spent a lot of hours playing this game, I cannot in good conscience nail it for being a copy of some other game, because it is genuinely fun. That’s what people need and demand from a portable console, really. A game that can provide them a lot of bite sized fun and hours of entertainment for a decent price.
The production values are quite good too surprisingly. It doesn’t match the XBLA games when it comes to physics but the destruction and other things available in this game is not that bad. There are two modes here: Time Trials and another that just depends on the tricks you do and calculates the total score at the end. Both of them are fun, but Time Trials are only recommended once you get to know the tracks and how to clear them efficiently.
Then there’s customisation and upgrade features which you can apply to your bike and it changes the statistics. Some tracks require a slower bike but something that offers more control, but such tweaking is only recommended for people who have spent a lot of time with the game.
There are a ton of tracks which are unlocked as you collect stars. If you beat a level with 5 stars it becomes easier to unlock the difficult tracks. There’s a good sense of progression here as the game eases you in with simple tracks and then once you get the hang of controls, gives you something difficult and lengthy to play with.
The controls are responsive and smooth. You can use the X button or the RB button to go forward and advanced techniques like throttling speed will come in handy to get faster track clearance times. If you have played the Trials games on XBLA, the concept is quite similar to that.
You have to dodge obstacles, clear tricky terrain, do stunts and more importantly try to clear the stage fast. Balancing all these things won’t be easy, but it depends on how experience you are at the game.
The visuals are fantastic with a good colour palette and the framerate is solid as well. There are set pieces that you will encounter from time to time which creates new path and that depends on your hand eye coordination to quickly anticipate and control your bike.
Once you clear a stage, you can upload your score to the leaderboards along with a picture taken from the Vita’s camera, and this really increases the competitive nature of the game.
The game isn’t sophisticated at all but it is something that is clearly suited to a handheld device and more importantly it has all the basics things in the right order. Inspired or not, this is a really fun game and worth your money especially if you are travelling somewhere and need something to fool around with.
This game was reviewed on the PS Vita.