GAMING BLEND

Urban Trial Freestyle Hits Vita For PlayStation Plus

By Ryan Winslett 2013-12-31 06:26:28 discussion comments
It's the last Tuesday of the year (and the last day of the year, for that matter), so it makes perfect sense that this would also mark the last PlayStation Plus update of the year. Be warned, though: It's more than a little on the light side, offering Urban Trial Freestyle for your Vita library and that's about it.

By “that's about it,” what I mean to say is, “that's absolutely it.” According to this week's listing on the PlayStation Blog, the latest addition to the Instant Game Collection is riding solo this week, offering up no DLC, themes or even the usual crop of discounts the Plus service has become known for. It was announced earlier this month that the folks who keep things running would be taking a couple of weeks off, so this light content should come as no surprise.

We're not even sure if the PSN proper will be getting much in the line of an update, as last week's content included exactly one new game and little else. Couple that with the fact that we haven't seen the usual preview article touting this week's offerings, and it looks like our gaming options will be light heading into the New Year.

But for those of you with a Vita, Urban Trial Freestyle should help pass the days until the first update of 2014 rolls around, as it's a surprisingly entertaining romp into the world of trial racing. I say surprising because the game more or less came out of nowhere last year, with only a little marketing behind it and a little-known team at the helm. And while the offerings might not be as robust or finely-tuned as other trial racing games, everything here is quite a bit of fun.

Urban Trial Freestyle offers a nice selection of courses to pick from, ranging from suburban neighborhoods and construction sites to wooded parks and cityscapes. You'll have two types of objectives available: One that has you trying to get to the finish line as quickly as possible and the other that has you attempting various types of objectives along the way. You'll earn money for doing well and discover extra cash hidden across the levels, which you'll use to upgrade your bike and gear. Gear is only aesthetic, but the bike upgrades allow you to fine-tune your machine for the individual courses. What works well on one course might not be the best option on another, and finding the right set-up is all part of the fun.

Otherwise, the controls are very straightforward. One button is gas and the other controls brake and reverse. You can control the pitch of your bike as you race across the screen from left to right, holding left to angle up and right to angle down. The trick is to guide your rider across all manner of cleverly crafted courses, obstacles and environmental hazards in order to achieve your goal. But speed isn't always the best option, as quite a few sections of each course require precision and finesse. It's a roguelike in some ways, as you're likely to crash multiple times on your first run through a course. After a time or two, however, you'll start to remember where obstacles are, where you need to slow down, and where you should cut loose.

Look for Urban Trial Freestyle for the Vita (Also available on the PS3 and 3DS) to be added to the IGC once the PlayStation Network update goes live this afternoon.
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