Urban Trial Freestyle was a pretty decent game when it launched back in 2013. It wasn’t the most revolutionary game, but what it offered was a substantial Trials game for a handheld console. Four years have passed since then however, and Tate Multimedia are back with Urban Trial Freestyle 2, but is it a significant upgrade, or the same old set of tricks.
Upon loading up Urban Trial Freestyle 2 you’re presented with a familiar title screen with your nameless, rebellious-looking rider. This however isn’t where the familiarity ends as players of the original will immediately feel at home bouncing from one platform to the next. However, in an attempt to keep things fresh, Tate Multimedia have inadvertently made things awkward and unappealing.
In the first game you could consider it a 2.5D trials game, but primarily you’d be on a 2D plane riding from the left to the right of the screen. This time around, they’ve expanded that 2.5D by having your rider move through various parts of the terrain at an angle, dashing diagonally across gardens and other parts of the environment creating confusion as to exactly where the rider will end up and what obstacle you face next.
Throw this together with the addition of a platform which, once you touch it, it fires you across the map, makes a pretty unenjoyable game, especially when it takes way too much effort to align yourself on said platform only to be fired backwards because your positioning wasn’t quite right.
Sure, it adds a level of complexity to the game which, once you’ve managed to upgrade your motorcycle becomes slightly easier, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t initially put off by some of the new mechanics in the game.
That being said, Urban Trial Freestyle 2 is much the same of the original aside from the aforementioned points, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first had some pretty good things going for it and they can be found here too. Things like the mid-trial challenges which have you performing spins, speed, or jumping to get a spot on the leaderboard are present, as are the various cosmetic upgrades.
There’s just a feeling you can’t quite shake from playing the game, especially the sequel. There’s a deep thirst for wanting more, but the game seems to be pushing the limits of what the 3DS can offer, which is nothing against the developers, but I feel that the sequel perhaps would have been better suited for the Nintendo Switch for example. Despite the game launching in 2017, there’s still a 2013 feel about the game.
Graphic style aside, the sequel is jam packed with almost double the amount of content of the original meaning you’ve got plenty of play time, especially as you have to achieve a certain amount of stars per level to unlock the next area. There’s definitely a high level of replayability here as you’re constantly pushing yourself to do that little bit better, which is a huge bonus.
One new big addition in Urban Trial Freestyle 2 is the ability to build your own levels and share them online with friends. While we didn’t have the ability to share our tracks, the level editor itself was pretty easy to get to grips with as it made use of the 3DS touch screen. The level editor was available in the first, but this time it’s a little more intuitive and offers way more assets to build your own challenging tracks.
One thing the original game suffered with was its physics, and I’ll be honest, the janky physics are still present this time around. It’s not a huge deal breaker, but it can be quite frustrating, especially when you get caught on nondescript parts of the environment or get tossed for miles after hitting the slightest bump. There’s also the occasional instance where your bike gets absorbed into parts of the level where the only way to get out is to respawn – a pretty frustrating deal when you’re on a pretty great run.
While Urban Trial Freestyle 2 is a somewhat improvement on the original, it’s still fails to leave a lasting impression, in fact, I personally prefer the original over the sequel as the level design was much simpler and coherent and it gave you much more of a chance to see the world around you and prepare for the various challenges presented to you.
It’s worth noting that this review is based on the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, not the New Nintendo 3DS so I can’t say for sure whether the game performs any better on the New Nintendo 3DS (as seen in the pictures above).