The Urban Trial Playground name might sound familiar to you, and yes, this is a side-scrolling bike stunt game full of death-defying stunts on dirt bikes and points scored off your performance, but this game is developed by Tate Multimedia and not RedLynx. Outside of sharing part of a name and genre, this isn’t related to the popular Trials series, but rather the third entry in the Urban Trial series that found a niche on Nintendo 3DS. This game, however, makes the leap to Nintendo Switch.
If you’re familiar with the genre, you’ll know almost exactly how Urban Trial Playground plays. You’re controlling a dirt bike on a 2D plane within a 3D world, managing the accelerator, the weight transfer of the rider and the momentum through tricks, and doing your best not to let the bike tip over and wipe you out, or land face first into the floor when going for one too many spins in the air.
On the whole, the side-scrolling stunt bike gameplay feels fun and easy to get to grips with, but a lot of that come from this series following in the footsteps of Trials, even if it’s more forgiving in how it handles. The main new idea is that you have control of both front and rear brakes independently, which can be useful for pulling certain tricks like Stoppies on the front wheel.
What is ultimately appealing about Trials Urban Playground is that it boasts over 50 levels for players to tackle, either trying to beat a high score or a time trial through the various California-themed environments. The game gives players enough objectives for them to work through, but to some this may feel like they’re working off a checklist which can take away from the fun.
The formula is in place to enable players to be able to pick up and put down the game whenever they like, and it works well for that. Playing for long periods of time can start to feel repetitive, but you’ve got online leaderboards to stack your score and time up against other players, and you can also go hunt the poker-themed collectibles scattered across the levels.
While the visuals are not overly impressive, they look good for the most part and there is a nice variety of tracks that range from beaches and airports, to downtown and many other places, which does help the game feel less repetitive. It would have been nice to see a higher quality in textures though, as the game when docked can look a bit blurry in places. The game seems to be better suited to handheld play.
Trials Urban Playground has a great splitscreen multiplayer mode which supports up to two players. It’s got a simple competitive mode, as you select a track from the single player to play on and must then try and beat each other’s score, and a chase mode where you have to try and catch your opponent. It’s simple and fairly limited, but it’s fun to play and works well at home and on the go. As is so often the case, Urban Trial Playground’s multiplayer is perfectly complimented by the practicality of the Joy-Con.
If you’re after a 2.5D side-scrolling stunt game, the Urban Trial Playground is going to scratch that itch for you on Switch. Sure, it’s riffing off the Trials series, but it’s a fun and lengthy alternative that’s a good fit for Nintendo’s platform.