Nintendo has been busting out games left and right for the Switch, with many being indie games and ports from other consoles. Previously found on the 3DS, the Urban Trial series finds itself a new chapter on Nintendo’s’ newest handheld. Urban Trial: Playground is a game focused on riding a motorcycle/dirtbike in different locations and ride fast while doing tricks. Developer Tate Multimedia sent us a review copy for the Switch and we checked out the racing game in its totality.
With over 50 unlock-able levels, you can choose to do an offline single player campaign, which isn’t much of a campaign. The main objective is to finish levels on a time trial or do the most tricks without crashing. The controls feel pretty fluid in the game, allowing for bikes to go forward and reverse, as well as tilt back and forth to position the front and back of your bike. The controls are responsive and feel right when it comes to driving and doing tricks. When you hit a jump, you can push forward or pull back to do stopies, wheelies, backflips or front flips. They all feel pretty responsive and allow for good gameplay. Missing in this was a variety of tricks the player could do, like a superman or taking hands off the bar to add some more difficulty to the game. After a couple of runs, they all kind of felt similar, which was good and bad for replay ability for me.
Part of the gameplay also has to do with not just racing and getting stars to unlock the next level but also collecting these chips to buy custom bikes, appearances and more. It was a nice touch but I would have liked to earn them in a different way, not saving up chips to buy some stuff. Like for instance, I would have enjoyed to get a sticker or a color of the bike for doing a back flip or getting a high number of points on a single trick. It just adds to the linear style of the game and makes me feel like I am just racing as quick as possible to unlock the next level.
The graphics of the game were solid for a hand held indie game, the scenery was well lit and looks realistic, which was a huge positive. I liked the various settings that players were able to drive through, it helped break up some of the repetitiveness. As for the courses, some of them had jumps, obstacles, ramps and even railings to break through as you raced along. The different aspects to the courses made for challenging and fun experiences but I would have liked to have more interaction with the environment. Seeing things move or splash or even have animals would have spiced up the levels a bit.
In addition to the single player, there is a multiplayer which allows you to challenge a friend to a timed trial and see who can do it faster. It adds an interactive component to the game but once again, it seems kind of linear and I would have preferred to challenge friends to most points on a trick or how many points can we get for doing tricks. It’s just a simple time trial, which just isn’t incredibly exciting. Even so, it worked pretty smoothly.
My biggest issue with this game was the fact that it crashed a ton. I would go to restart a level and the whole game would crash and I would have to start back at the Switch home screen. It was pretty frustrating because if you crash, you lose points, so you would want to restart the race to get the most points. I am hopeful this could be fix with a future patch but for me, crashing 4 times in a half hour was frustrating to say the least.
Urban Trial: Playground is an entertaining game. If you like racing games and doing tricks, this game has all the best of the basics to make it a smooth game. You can play this game for a while and have fun, however, it does get repetitive and lacks a ton of customizability that a game like this needs to keep people coming back. For $19.99, the price-tag is not outrageous for a game that can be a fun play when you are taking a break from games that require a ton of attention and is a solid choice to add to your library if you liked the old Urban Trial games. With good graphics and fluid controls, I would recommend people pick it up and give it a try. Check out the trailer above and for more, make sure you keep it locked to Mammoth Gamers!