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Trials Frontier Review

By , on April 10, 2014
Last modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago


Trials Frontier
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Genre: Arcade
  • Released: 10 Apr, 2014
  • Size: 89.8 MB
  • Price: FREE!
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Good translation of the console experience
  • Tight controls
  • Looks good, with lots of different tracks to test your skills

CONS

  • Lots of repeating levels
  • Occasionally cool down timers will have you waiting
  • Controls have a little less finesse than on other systems

VERDICT

Trials Frontier is a surprisingly decent translation of the console series, successfully miniaturising the franchise’s precision gameplay for touchscreen, while keeping the free-to-play restrictions within tolerance levels.


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Trials Frontier wastes no time getting you into the action. There’s no title screen as you load the app - instead, the game begins with an onscreen prompt showing you how to start your engine. Before we'd even seen the title card, we were scudding along the 2.5D path towards an explosive finale.

The game's first three tracks lay out all the controls. Your right thumb controls acceleration, while your left thumb manipulates your rider’s center of gravity, letting you jump a flip the digital daredevil around obstacles.

Veterans of Trials on the PC and Xbox will feel right at home with the touchscreen controls. The major downside is the replacement of analogue subtleties with binary buttons,  meaning you can no longer ease off on the gas on trickier slopes. Luckily, developer RedLynx know exactly how its game is meant to feel, and has designed tracks that compliment these new inputs.

Rather than being a purely stage-based stunt-bike racer, Frontier actually features a story. You crash your bike while exploring, and awaken in a steampunk inspired Wild West. With your bike destroyed, you have to borrow one from the people of the town. To repay their kindness, you set about undertaking missions for them. This adds some structure, while also providing an excuse to reuse many of the short tracks.

The story also provides the framework for Frontier’s free-to-play elements. You can earn gems and money from the townsfolk, allowing you to upgrade your rickety new ride, or obtain more fuel to provide the energy required to race. Naturally, each of these commodities can be bought through in-app purchases. However, we only encountered a few occasions when cool down timers dramatically interrupted play. While some will protest the very notion of a free-to-play version of Trials, we have seen far more restrictive implimentations of the freemium model than what we found here. 

From a purely physical perspective, Trials Frontier is a brilliant translation of the Trials series for mobile. The controls system does a great job of capturing the feel of the series, and a free-to-play system will only interrupt players who wish to play for extended without dropping a cent. As a result, there is nothing to stop everyone giving it a go.

Screenshots

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