Some may say an hour-long commute to work sounds like a pain, and in truth it is, but it means I’m able to dust of my 3DS each morning and keep my anxiety at bay for a little bit. With having a newfound excuse to play on my once forgotten machine every day, it means I now have a relentless gaming thirst that must be quenched. Dragon Quest? Devoured! Pokemon? Played it! Someone give me a challenge, quickly, my train leaves shortly … what’s that you say? How about an arcade game guaranteed to stress me out and fill me rage first thing in the morning? Sorry my job already does that, but what the hell, what’s a little more ay!? *sobs*.
Urban Trial Freestyle 2 is the highly addictive sequel and the latest title from Tate Multimedia and Teyon, releasing on Nintendo 3DS. Though aesthetically not as glamorous or explosive as Ubisoft’s Trials franchise, specifically Trials Fusion (a game that most will argue has defined the floppy-ragdoll-motorist genre), Urban Trail Freestyle has been just as highly praised and cherished. Taking everything from the 2013 original, UTF2 promises to expand and improve every aspect that made it so enjoyable, from the new “Advanced Physics” to the all-new track customisation, ensuring it’s a jam packed and hugely entertaining game to pick up and play for as long (or as short) as you want. With brand new locations to conquer and online leader boards to encourage your dominance, Urban Trial Freestyle 2 sounds to me like an instant classic for any 3DS looking for a challenge, but considering it’s releasing on far less platforms than the original, should you be worried? Not at all, in fact those unfortunate enough to be without a Nintendo 3DS should be the worried ones.
Right from the first rev of the engine, UTF2 is terrific fun and sets the pace for what the player can expect, a false sense of ease and simplicity. Much like Trials Fusion (sorry to compare once again), I was plonked into a brightly coloured harmless looking environment, which for the first 3 ramps didn’t cause too much of a problem, however, in jolts a punishing difficulty spike out of nowhere which sends you into an relentless degree of game rage, causing you to curse manically at your screen, well UTF2 did the exact same thing and you know what? I dig it. Playing these games isn’t just about getting to the finish line, it’s about doing it as quickly as possible and racking up the best score you can (if not for yourself, but for your online nemesis), and what this title does so well is give you a relatively simple track that is only as difficult as you make it; if you want a 5-star score prepare for a bit of grief to get there. Each track can be completed in 2 ways. In stunt mode, each track is riddled with perilous stunts to complete whether that be flips, highest jump or a precise land, you only have 1 shot to acquire the best score per run, so make it count. Time Attack is how you’d expect it to play out, complete the run as quickly as possible without bailing, which is easier said than done. Having 2 attempts at mastering each track, as well as the opportunity to set world records online, UTF2 certainly gives you reason to play until your eyes dry out. Mastering each locale will open up bonus Challenge Tracks, additional and optional torture to get your bike round, and I say torture because they seem to come from a different place to the rest of the game, as challenging is one thing, and impossible is another. I’m up for a difficult task like anyone else, but to make somewhat unfair and unnecessarily difficult tasks isn’t good for anyone and after several attempts at getting nowhere they have since gone unplayed and most likely will remain that way. Each of the regular games tracks however are vibrant, tricky and as you progress as does the ambitiousness of each one, gradually getting bigger, deeper and more diabolical by the second. As stated in the introduction, Urban Trial Freestyle 2 may be branded as being relatively simple in its look and approach when you compare it to other titles from this genre, but nothing here is lacking and everything is executed brilliantly.
If you’re like me then you want your game to be worth every penny, and having an endless supply of content is always greatly appreciated, so even if you can’t be bothered creating your own tracks then there will be 100s, nay 1000s available for you to download and have a crack at. In all honesty, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t attempt making your own challenge, as UTF2’s Track Editor is stupidly easy to get your head around, and that’s coming from a massive lazy swine such as myself. Using your 3DS stylus, simply select the piece of track, ramp or gazebo you want to ride and jump over and let your creativity and imagination go wild. At the touch of your plastic fingernail, drag, resize and rotate any obstacle you place in with ease, and in 2 simple actions you can even test out your creation and re-edit if needs be without a loading screen in sight. Admittedly the customisation isn’t as gargantuan as other games you may have played and your freedom can only go so far, however you have more than enough tools at your disposal to easily piece together a disgustingly devilish track and spread rage throughout the land.
Urban Trials Freestyle 2 is a delightfully difficult and essential purchase for anyone who wants a bit of arcade challenge in their life and on their 3DS. With dozens of tracks to play initially and countless others waiting to be downloaded, there’s plenty of rag-dolly motorcycle goodness to get carried away with, with each exciting location getting more treacherous and ambitious as you progress. It is a grave shame however that I found each of the challenge tracks too difficult and unfair to enjoy, which of course won’t affect everyone but it did grind my experience to an unexpected holt. Not one track was boring or remotely similar, but if you think you can do better then you can always go ahead and build your own with ease, which though it may not have the most creative or ground breaking options, the track builder is easy to understand and use. Urban Trials Freestyle 2 may not be the most explosive ride you’ll ever take, but it’s exhilarating and hugely enjoyable to say the least, definitely a highly recommendable wingman to brighten up that long miserable commute or that short depressing lunch break.