Blatant Copy

This past week there were some sales that were of the unannounced variety on the Playstation Store. In the Playstation Plus updates on the official blog, they will mention weekly deals for plus members, but no where will you get a heads up for sales that affect everyone. If you click on the “weekly deals” link under the games section of the store, you will find some gems on occasion. This is how I ended up with Castle Crashers and the Soldner-X series that I posted about not too long ago. This week, there was a game in the sale section that I had been thinking about buying for quite some time. The game: Urban Trial Freestyle.


The game was released early this year with a $15 price tag. That isn’t expensive at all, but I ended up passing it by in favor of something else at the time. It might have even had a Plus member discount, but I can’t remember. Since then a demo has been added so you can actually try it before you buy it. Also, the game is now on sale for $7.99 (for a limited time I’m sure), and pretty much any game is worth eight bucks. You can’t argue against cheap.

The reason I was even remotely interested in the game is because a couple of years ago my friend Kris told me about this game called “Trials” on the Xbox 360. Trials, and it’s sequel “Trials Evolution” were both Xbox exclusives. My roommate owned a 360 at the time (he has since sold it and graduated to a PS3 :P) and ended up getting a copy of trials as well. I didn’t play too many times, but I did have fun with it. It’s basically a updated version of Excitebike, in that it’s a side-scrolling bike-riding obstacle course. There are more elements to it, but that’s the gist.

Urban Trial Freestyle is basically 90% Trials, and 10% original game. Since 75% or more of games that saturate the market are copying something that came before it or are flat-out remakes, this isn’t something that really offends me (or the general public for that matter). Because of the exclusivity of the original, this is the closest thing to the original game that I can get as a Playstation owner, so I can actually appreciate the blatant copy that is presented here. And really, all fighting games copy each other, all racing games, all shooters. Some elements might differ, as the devil is always in the details, but the general basic principles remain the same among games in a given genre. Here’s a side by side comparison, so you can see just how similar these games really are:

Trials Evolution:

Urban Trial Freestyle:

As you can see, I’m not embellishing here, they really are damn near the same game. But as I said, the difference is in the details, and there are some notable differences. For instance, in Trials, the game is played in a time attack style, and “crashes” are counted in the upper left corner of the screen. These crashes will take points (or was it time?) off of your score at the end of the run. In Urban Trial, crashes aren’t counted, but the clock keeps ticking as you restart at checkpoints. In effect, these differences still have the same outcome. Where the major difference lies is in the fact that there are two different game modes for Urban Trial. In a given world there are several stages, and you will play the same level again within the same world, but using different game rules. Half of the time you will perform time attacks, needing to meet or beat a particular time to get a 5 star rating for that level. The other half of the time there are trick levels, where time is still a factor (though it’s a countdown from 5 minutes), but you also have to try and beat records for individual trick portions. Examples of these tricks are “longest jump”, “high jump”, “precision aim”, and “flip meter”, which I hope are all pretty self explanatory.

Trophies for the game are pretty straight forward: complete the game, and do things that you would normally do during that course of play time (crashes, flips, etc). The hardest parts are getting 5-star ratings on all of the levels and finding all of the hidden money bags throughout the game.

Despite the blatant copy of the original game’s design, there is enough of a difference here that you can still enjoy both. If you never heard of either, or don’t own an Xbox, this is a game that I would recommend as it is challenging and a lot of fun. And you definitely can’t beat $8.