The Nintendo 3DS has no shortage of racing games, but there aren’t quite many like Urban Trial Freestyle 2 on the handheld. If you’ve played Ubisoft’s Trials, then you should already have an idea of what to expect from this game. Seeing that this is coming from an indie studio, you may think that the quality would be on the lesser side. Surprisingly, that isn’t the case.
Urban Trial Freestyle 2 is a physics-based ‘racing’ game that puts you in control of a nameless motorbike rider. There are two game modes: Stunt mode and Time Trials. Both of these modes are played out on the same courses, except with different goals. In Stunt mode, your objective is to finish the course with the most amount of points that you can obtain. This is achieved by pulling off stunts, in addition to trying not to crash since that reduces your score. Time Trial is pretty straightforward: complete the course in the quickest time possible. Crashing not only costs you more time, but it also deducts points just like in Stunt mode.
Between these two modes, you can get used to the layout of each of these levels. You really need to memorize the courses as there are many hazards and tricky sections that will impact your performance on your first run. With that said, this doesn’t apply to all of the courses. Some of them are straightforward and can be completed pretty easily, while others are gonna have you pulling your hair out. It keeps things interesting since you don’t know exactly what to expect. In addition to that, the level design is pretty great. Huge ramps to jump off of, catapults that send you flying, crashing into carefully placed wooden planks to create an instant-ramp—there’s a lot of interesting mechanics to experience.
When you complete a course, you get scored out of five stars. Achieving at least three stars is what you’ll have to keep doing in each course in order to advance to the next area; which there happen to be six of in total. With there being eight courses in each of the six areas, that gives you a level total of 48 courses. Keep in mind that you’ll technically be playing them all twice with the two game modes. Long story short—there’s a decent amount of content here. On top of that, you can even go ahead and create your own levels (which can be shared online), thus further widening the experience.
Both Stunt and Time Trial are pretty fun to play thanks to the good level design.
Speaking of online—no, you can’t play against friends or strangers in head-to-head races. However, there is a Global Leaderboard that’s constantly keeping track of pretty much everything that you do (stunt scores, time results, etc.), so there’s still a level of engagement. This adds to the longevity of the game as you can constantly check back to see if anyone has beaten your record. You can also race against ghosts and compare your scores with that of your friends. Another incentive to complete courses with good scores is to get enough cash in order to buy different things like new outfits, and different bikes. The bikes can even be customized with different parts which change the stats.
It’s safe to say that there’s quite a lot of content to dive into with this game. But wh0at good is a big game if it isn’t fun to play? Fortunately, Urban Trial Freestyle 2 is pretty fun. Seeing that this is a physics-based game, you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing in order to complete levels quickly and with as little mistakes as possible. Controlling with the 3DS’ circle pad isn’t the most comfortable method for this type of game, but it gets the job done. You need to learn how to balance the bike, especially when landing after a jump. Simply tapping your character’s head against a wall or the ground will cause him to crash, thus giving you a penalty. There are checkpoints littered throughout each of the courses, so thankfully you don’t have to restart from the beginning every time you crash.
Each course has a higher and lower path, so learning the level layout is crucial, as mentioned before. Unsurprisingly, the higher paths are definitely the least problematic and fastest, but they’re also the most difficult to get to. With that said, it’s going to take a bit of practice to get the hang of this game, but it’s really satisfying to fly through a course once you master the mechanics.
This is easily one of the most graphically detailed 3DS games ever.
Not only is this game fun, but it also looks really good for a 3DS title. The textures are more detailed than most games on the handheld, and there are even nice effects like shadows for background objects. Combine this with the 3D-effect and you have yourself a really detailed 3DS title. The realistic artstyle does make it look somewhat dull compared to other games, but what do you expect from the little handheld? For what it’s running on, the game really does look good.
Even though it’s visually nice, the same can’t be said for the sound. The music is pretty forgettable, and the bike sounds aren’t as hearty as I was hoping. Even when using headphones, it sounds pretty quiet and basic. Nevertheless, it’s still tolerable.
—THE BOTTOM LINE —
The first Urban Trial Freestyle was already a pretty fun game, so this sequel simply took a solid foundation and built upon it. With the hefty amount of courses, a track builder, online leaderboards, great visuals and engaging gameplay, I can definitely say that this game is worth picking up if you’re into racers and/or physics-based titles. Seeing that it only costs $7, you really don’t have much to lose. While there is a bit of a learning curve, once you get the hang of it, the experience is pretty fun.