Urban Trials Playground came to quite a well-received launch to the 3DS, but fails to utilize the full extent of the Switch. Urban Trial Playground isn’t a game about insane stunts and explosions like the leader in the 2.5D stunt racer genre, Trials. From the outside, people (me included) immediately started to compare this game to Trials, but I urge you to give this a go if you are a fan of the stunt racer genre. While playing, you come to appreciate the surprisingly smooth and well balanced game that has you riding from the left side of the screen to the right while jumping over roads, through buildings and across beaches.
The art style is simple, yet effective… in other words, very Nintendo. It gives more of a relaxed feeling than the realism of Trials, which isn’t a bad thing by any means! It fits the Switch and the family friendly look is nothing out of the ordinary. If you think that that means this game is just for kids, you would be wrong. The game has an ‘easy to learn, hard to master’ feel to it. Bright colours contrast well and the few of customization options for the 5 bikes you unlock throughout the game and the variety of stickers you can add to the bike, give you something to work for.
The main feature of this game is, of course, the stunts and controls. This too, fits the family friendly style it seems to be reaching for. It follows the standard, left and right, to adjust your body positioning on the bike. This allows you to pull off flips, wheelies and other stunts. It is definitely more of an arcade feel, where stunts are very easy to pull off and feel like they hold your hand through most of them. Wheelies are rather easy to execute with little to no balance required, the main reason for this is that your travel significantly faster on one wheel. Whenever I was on a flat section of the stage, I found myself going blisteringly fast as I held back and flew across obstacles. This, for me, is the biggest difference from other games in the genre. I do realise I am comparing this game to Trials a lot, but that is only because that is the game people would compare it to.
Each stage gives you a score out of 5 stars depending on how many points you accumulate over the stage. To unlock more stages, you need to get a certain amount of stars, this isn’t a new concept by any means but it does add to the fun grind this game has you on. Completing challenges, and doing stunts give you points and also offer a bunch of replayablity if you don’t end up finishing with 5 stars. With 55 somewhat unique stages, it offers a large enough amount of replayablity to keep you engaged for hours. The main drawback for me is the amount of stages. Not that there is too little, I would say too much. 55 stages are a lot for any game, but the game starts to get quite repetitive after a while. None of the stages are particularly hard either. It would be better, in my opinion, if they were split into groups, each getting harder with new challenges. Not 55 slightly differing stages getting to the max difficulty half way through.
In conclusion, Urban Trials Playground is a bright, colourful, and somewhat lacking in personality. It is incredibly smooth especially in docked mode, looking beautiful in 1080p. Would be better with more variety, gameplay wise, but for the price it is a good, chilled experience. With no online multiplayer, but a few 2 player split screen stages, this is a great, cheaper alternative to other games in this genre. It is a good game to just sit back and play, without stressing or trying to master gameplay elements to beat a stage.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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