Even though it’s been a while since Trials-fuelled tricking and flipping was prominent in the gaming scene, there’s still a great deal of love around for games that can test a player’s skills – and patience – as they attempt run after run in order to hone some form of mastery.
It’s that vibe which Tate Multimedia are attempting to infuse into the gaming world with Urban Trial Tricky Deluxe Edition, a fun and wholesome affair in which you’ll be tasked with learning the motocross skills required, before then heading out to put them into practice. But as with any game of the genre there’s a thin line between fun and frustration, and whilst this one doesn’t overly step the mark, there will be times when you’ll be left wishing that Tate Multimedia had reined back a little on the complexities at hand.
Urban Trial Tricky Deluxe Edition places you astride a simple motocross bike before tasking you to show off.your skills in a variety of well-created, but relatively small, ramp-filled arenas. This may come in the form of trick-based events in which you need to make the most of the tricks and flips that are on offer to gather up the highest scores possible, across timed events that pit you against the clock, or in a competition as you try your best to keep up with the tricks that are called out.
It all starts so simply with some decent tutorial levels walking you through things. These will give you an initial understanding of how to control your bike, how to jump and how to pull off basic moves. From there though you’re thrown into the single player career (it should be noted this is the only game mode on offer), and left to work your way through the levels at hand.
Each stage comes with up to 5 stars which can be collected, earnt depending on how well you do with the very basic needs that are required; nail a load of tricks, build some combos and take home plenty of points and you’ll pretty much have what is required to unlock further events. The stars of timed events are dictated by your finishing times whilst competitions work as you would expect – hit a specific number of called tricks and those stars will be yours.
Stars unlock further events and with more than 30 in play, the grind and mastering of these is real in Urban Trial Tricky Deluxe Edition. Thankfully, once you’ve attempted a stage at least once, you’ll know what is required of you and your skills for more of those stars to drop.
Whilst Urban Trial Tricky could stop there and leave you be, it wants to do more and Tate have decided that the integration of extra challenges and money bags should be enough to entice you back for more. They are right too as this is where things get properly real for any budding trickster. You see, money bags are scattered around each level, mostly situated between jumps and ramps, and grabbing these sees your cash reserves upped. It’s this that works as a secondary in-game credit system alongside the stars, letting you purchase and unlock further tricks, a few different bike types (each with different power and control stats) and rider skins – if you want to dress up in a banana costume as you ride your bike, you can.
The challenges are the most enticing of the lot though, with a certain amount present for each of the stages. These may require you to build certain combos, or to gather up a specific score, to beat a set time or even – and this is probably limited to the most skilled of Urban Trial Tricky players – the chance to beat scores set by the developers themselves.
Complete a challenge and further cash gets added to your bank account, opening up those unlock options even more.
By and large though, that cash will want to be spent on bikes and tricks, and whilst it would have been nice to see a few more bike options included (4 is very much on the stingy side), the trick numbers are vast. These are split across Basic, Normal, Hard, Super, Ultra and Extreme affairs, with a variety of X and Y button presses pulling each one off. Whilst only two tricks can be assigned in the most basic form, building in bike position (for example, whether you are pulling off a wheelie, a stoppie or flying through the air) will dictate what that button press delivers. When you include a B button press which flips you through 180 degrees, which can also be combined, plus a whole load more in terms of thumbstick flips, and honestly, mastering everything that Urban Trial Tricky is able to provide will take some going.
The problem is, at least for this reviewer, that much like how every single game in the Trials series was initially fun, and then rewarding as the difficulty rises, once things go stratospheric in terms of the button presses, the tricks and the flips required (ie, that of Ultra and Extreme), the fun wears off slightly. This is no more prevalent in Urban Trial Tricky due to the fact that for some reason actioning tricks that require a couple of button presses – a tap of X and hold of Y for instance – occasionally fails to register. Strangely, triple button presses work without issue and so we’re not really sure what’s going on with those mid-rangers. When that difficulty curve goes vertical and the tricks we need fail to emerge, it’s about then when we want to get off the tricking train.
It must be said though that thanks to some relatively small yet super fun stages that deal with just enough verticality as well as horizontal madness, that curve is by no means as bad as what was previously found in Trials. In fact, we can see ourselves dropping back onto the bike every now and then if only to whip out the odd Superman, Stalefish, Dead Kicker and Yoga moves. That enthusiasm is helped massively by the fun and vibrant visuals that Urban Trial Tricky Deluxe Edition is able to provide – everything you could want is well-designed, highly detailed and nicely created, from the riders to the bikes right up to each and every stage. It’s all super smooth too, without a hitch throughout.
The soundtrack that accompanies things is neat as well, with a variety of tunes available at the tap of a d-pad. In terms of the other pieces of audio, trick shouts, bike revs and crash effects are all well-placed.
Unfortunately Urban Trial Tricky Deluxe Edition is let down slightly in terms of the game modes that are on offer. The single player career is deep and will keep anyone going for many an hour, but it would have been nice to have access to some kind of multiplayer options aside from the bragging rights of the included leaderboards. Splitscreen or online trick mastery could well have been killer.
But Urban Trial Tricky Deluxe Edition is worth a look. If you’ve been harking back to a time when the motocross scene was fuelled by the Trials franchise, or if you’ve recently been kicking around with Tony Hawk, this is going to scratch more than an itch. It’s a game that will be instantly accessible to many, but just be aware that full completion may only be found by those who have utterly mastered the scene.
Trick with the best of them with Urban Trial Tricky Deluxe Edition from the Xbox Store