Trials is one of those games where it gives you so much frustration that when you beat it, there is few other better feelings out there in gaming, RedLynx has brought that same frustration and delight to mobile and tablet devices in the form of Trial Frontier.
Mobile games aren’t known for their longevity or playing one session for extended periods of time, however I found myself playing Trials Frontier from when it came out for 3 days solid playing through the story line and trying to better my times to reach higher on the scoreboards and get Gold medals in all events. Play sessions reached into the multiples of hours, something I haven’t experienced with any other mobile or tablet game outside of my Surface Pro/Windows 8 games.
The control system is spot on for a mobile device with four total controls, two on the left for accelerate and brake/reverse and two on the right for flip forwards and flip backwards. This leaves the majority of the screen open to see what you are doing as well as not requiring you to lose focus by looking at over complicated controls that some mobile games try to implement.
The story has you start as a motorcycle rider (oddly enough) who gets caught in a cave-in which happens during your first venture into the game. Taken to a small town where you recover and meet a host of different characters willing to help you help them to defeat the town bully, who also caused the cave-in, and his crew.
You do get to go up against real world players, sort of. Part way through the story line you find a robot who has lost all his memories and you need to help him get them back. Doing this involves repairing memory modules which are in fact real world player ghost characters. When you start the race, you are greeted with the robot riding a bike with a monitor display replacing his face and showing the uPlay icon from the player you are up against. Some of these races are insanely easy and some are bordering on screen breaking frustrating as they pip you at the post. So while the match making could use some tweaking to find racers more on your level, the variety is a welcome break or challenge and isn’t a guaranteed win.
After each race you have an opportunity to win some scrap parts or even additional gems by spinning a wheel of fortune littered with prizes. You can increase your odds of winning a particular item by pressing and holding it before spinning which increases the size of the prize area. This doesn’t cost anything unless you land on something you don’t want then you can opt to re-spin for a couple of gems to take another spin of the wheel, of course you could just race the level again and get another free spin too.
An added bonus includes you having the opportunity to race a specific group of levels within Frontier which in turn unlocks new costume pieces for your rider in the console and PC version of Trials which released today, Trials Fusion which we’ll have a review for once we have played it more.
In game currency of coins for upgrading vehicles and gems are purchased with real world currency as well as chances to win additional gems from missions and the slot machine. Even though microtransactions are the source of revenue for Trials Frontier, at no point do you feel pressured to spend real world money on progressing through the game. RedLynx give you multiple opportunities to win gems as well as not strictly having tied fuel to money. Yes you could pay to get more fuel but you could also wait a few minutes or get a full tank each time you level up. We did spend $2.99 on some gems and a new paint job for one of the bikes but that is because a game this good really deserves the success and RedLynx deserve my money in support of what they managed to achieve, a mobile game that feels like a AAA console or PC title.
The coins you get for passing checkpoints, completing races and on the slot machine allow you to purchase motorbike upgrades for handling, speed, grip and agility. There is a set price for each upgrade but if you find the three pieces of scrap parts that price is significantly reduced. To get the best scores and past some levels you need to upgrade your rides as you go or get left behind. Upgrading is where some may feel that the pressure of paying money comes in as the upgrades take increasing amounts of time although you can ride the bike while you wait but it doesn’t have the upgrade perks until the timer expires and the upgrade is complete.
While Trials Frontier may be missing the head to head rush of it’s bigger brother on consoles and PC, this is an excellent mobile version of the motorbike stunt racing formula we have come to love and hate from RedLynx. For a free download you would be doing yourself an injustice by not downloading it and giving it a try, especially if you are a Trials fan and want the frustration while on the move.