Ok, I’ll admit it: before Frontier, I had never played a Trials game. The series’ former Xbox exclusivity and my general disinterest in motorsports are probably to blame, but with all the hubbub surrounding Trials Fusion, I thought I’d put my prejudices to one side and see what all the fuss was about.
First of all, let’s clear up any confusion. Though vaguely similar in name, Frontier and Fusion are two distinctly separate instalments in RedLynx’s highly addictive series. For a start the settings are completely different. Doing away with conventional dirt tracks and stadiums, Frontier is – as the name suggests – set in fictional universe replete with Wild West influences.
You, the player, come upon a small town and its residents, who are plagued by a notorious gang of bikers. It’s more of a canvas than an actual story, though it’s nice to see actual characters thrown into the mix, many of whom have missions for players to beat.
These can range from simple time trials and races to challenges that incorporate a sequence of elaborate stunts. The more you play, the more areas begin to open up. Not only that, you’ll also start to see a steady income of experience, Coins, and loot. Over time, new bikes and upgrades will also become available, increasing both control and speed.
Given its free-to-play status, in Frontier there was always going to be a catch. As in most games an energy bar is present, dictating just how many trials you can attempt in one session. An in-game store is also on hand, where players can swap real cash for Gems as well as Coins.
To give you an idea of the in-game economy, 200 (the smallest denomination) of Gems will set you back £2.99, going right up to 5800 for £69.99. The same amounts will also bag you 100,000 to 2,800,000 Coins.
Putting that into context, after playing a few hours, bike upgrades are ramping in price, reaching the 3000-Coin mark. Although missions and free-play trials can be used to earn Coins, it soon becomes a grind.
Gems, on the other hand, are more of a convenience currency. These can be used to speed up upgrade times as well as to instantly grab bike parts instead of farming them, usually at 2 Gems a piece.
Minutes: Within a few moments of starting, you’ll be dropped straight into a series of missions as you begin to take your first steps.
Hours: Upgrades and blueprints are now starting to take precedence as you become familiar with the crafting and loot system.
Days: The missions are becoming increasingly hard, to the point that you have to stopped and farm upgrades before you can press on. Skill also has its part to play and you will now be replaying courses over and over, tracking every dip and jump to hit that perfect time.
One thing commonly said about Trials is just how addictive it can get. This is mainly due to personal rivalries between mates and trying to get your name up there on the leaderboard. In Frontier, however, this element is diminished somewhat. Unless you actively search for players and bring their ghosts into your game, they won’t appear. That’s not to say there isn’t anyone playing the game because there are. It’s just a shame RedLynx hasn’t integrated social connectivity in a more seamless way.
Overall, Frontier is highly recommendable, despite the potential grind players are signing themselves up for. It handles smoothly in a way that assures players that RedLynx own this genre, despite hundreds of iOS/Android impersonators.