For those who don\’t know, Urban Trial is like the rough-and-tough cousin to Trials HD, a game about driving a motorbike across crazy terrain without crashing. The game is made by the same developer so it goes without saying that both of them are alike. What Urban Trial focuses on, in an attempt to differentiate itself, is an edgy and apocalyptic setting. The funny thing is you will actually only see small moments of cool environmental destruction, which makes it feel like a game rather than a epic escape from a ruined urban jungle. While Urban Trials never quite pushes that message, what it does well in the game makes up for it. It often feels very natural for this game to run on the 3DS. The little touches really show that the developers really wanted the game to be special on the 3DS compared to the other versions on PS3, Vita, and iOS.
Now, one thing present in the game is the \”90s arcade extreme sports\” vibe like that of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games. When you first get to the main menu, your character is just chilling out on a bench in a ruined city, rocking out to some tunes. This is your “garage,” as the game puts it. These touches are nice, as they show off the impressive visuals and depth the 3DS provides. The player has the ability to customize their bike and driver from the garage. It’s not the most complex selection, so you will need to find in-stage cash to unlock all of it. Another little thing you can do is add your face to a billboard, which also functions as your high-score photo for online leaderboards! Now, the gameplay aspect is very easy to learn. You take stage after stage, completing the challenge given to you. That sounds like an arcade sports game, but is that necessarily a bad thing? Yes and no.
The game will take its time showing you how to play by letting you go at your own pace. To move on to the next world, the player must get at least an average of three stars out of five. The player will have a choice on how to take on these stages, through stunt mode and time trail. Time trail is exactly what it implies, a simple timed race to the finish. This will force the player to really think when to speed up and slow down if they want a good score as those actions can have a huge effect on the time outcome. The stunt mode is almost a complete contrast in gameplay. The player must take their time and examine the stage for upcoming challenges like: high jumps, flips, and long jumps. It really reminds me of the first tony hawk pro skater as you won\’t always beat one stunt the first go, but you might knock out another. It really makes a stage worth playing twice and is pretty cool to see how differently you play each time. Stunt mode was often the more pleasing mode, I would keep coming back to it again and again to reach the best scores possible. It really adds variety and the leaderboards really give it a push as it is continually updated and displayed on billboards on each stage (which is really freakin\’ cool).
This game also comes with a stage maker exclusive to the 3DS version. Hey, this sounds great, doesn\’t it? Can\’t wait to share your cool stages with your friends? Well… you can\’t. It is crazy to think they bothered putting in a functioning stage builder without any share feature, but it’s true. The game gives the player a selection of environments to make levels out of. In the environment the player has the option of up to 200 objects to place, scale, twist, and clone. These can be controlled with buttons or the touch screen. I preferred the latter as it felt smooth and responsive, making it easy to set up something quick. To make levels more than a play house seems pointless if you have no one to share with. This feels SO 90s, bro.
Did I mention the 90s? This game has a 90s feel to it, too. I feel like a kid again playing this, and maybe it makes me a little biased, but the developers must have done this on purpose. Am I implying the graphics look bad? No, in-fact The graphics are quite good for a eShop title and the game pushes realistic physics with the bike and objects. What I mean by \”90s style\” is that the game just has that edgy style where everything has a rugged look to it. Their are a few visual problems, the biggest being in the Stunt Mode. When approaching a stunt, you won\’t exactly know what the stunt is unless you slow down to see the white floating text. This cost me a few replays to get a passable score, as I didn\’t know what stunt the game wanted me to do until it was too late. This probably wasn\’t a problem on the Vita and PS3 with their higher definition, but it does feel like it was imported poorly.
The audio also falls on the weak side, not due to low quality or tastelessness, but the game seems to suffer from low volume. I had moments where even the slightest noise canceled out the game audio. When in a quiet room, I enjoyed the fitting punk rock music played throughout the game. The sound effects for the bike are very impressive, I could hear all the details of the bike engine and tires as I hit the gas. Also, the cling of a crashing object to the pump of a bike launching piston have such unique sounds that they easily stand out. I would recommend a headset when playing this game if you want to be able to truly hear this awesome touches.
Games like these have always had me worried if I\’d come back to it. I feared that once I had my fill I wouldn\’t care much to try and beat old scores. The good news is that is nothing to fear here, as the the costly display of leaderboards, in stage and off, really pushes you to give it one more go. To push you on top of that, the last world stages can only be unlocked by five staring a world in both stunt and trail mode, this is not easy but is it worth the trouble? Very much so, as these stages put a new twist to the game that will blow your mind (I don\’t want to spoil it)! So when it comes to a full packaged eshop game, this game defiantly fits the bill.
Prepare to jump, flip, and most definitely crash! For anyone who likes extreme sport games this is a fun and addicting experience. For others, if you don\’t care for topping leaderboards or beating challenging paths, this might not be worth it. While it may come up short in some aspects, gameplay was not one of them.