Review: Urban Trial Freestyle 2 (3DS eShop)

Another good reason to hit the dirt on 3DS!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 05/30/2017 09:30 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Wonderful presentation, including some gorgeous lighting; track editor; bike customization
Poison Mushroom for...
Bland soundtrack; character customization isn't very appealing; no way to exchange track codes in-game

Dirt bike racing games have been a staple of Nintendo systems as far back as Excitebike. Fans have spent many years now gleefully taking to digital mud and dirt to tackle tricky obstacles and cunning opponents, as well as to pull off wicked stunts. With developer Teyon’s latest title, Urban Trial Freestyle 2, the 3DS eShop has been graced with an updated sequel to its previous effort, boasting double the tracks, tighter controls, and many other enhancements. Teyon has impressed me with Freestyle 2; there are some rough edges, but overall this is a robust offering that shines amongst the other innumerable titles that litter the eShop.

There are 40 tracks to play around on in Freestyle 2; the environments are all “urban”, as the name suggests, and Teyon did a great job of making them feel lived in. There are some over the top elements, like enormous loops and elaborate construction sites, but overall the race tracks of Freestyle 2 feel like places that anyone could actually go to. They’re rendered wonderfully, as well. Though the game plays out in 2D, the environments are rendered in 3D and presented from a pseudo-isometric angle. The 3D can be a little overpowering (and I’m a 3D fiend!), but if the setting is lowered sufficiently it gives just enough pop to all the elements on the screen without being painful to the eyes. The soundtrack is perhaps a bit generic, but it suits the action well.


Players can either take on Time Attack mode, where the goal is to reach the end as quickly as possible, or stunt mode, which lays out a series of stunts that must be pulled off in order to earn points. There’s a five-star grading scale that’s used to rank player performance, and the stars are used to control progression throughout the game. The controls are very easy to learn: accelerate and break to maneuver through the courses, while using the Circle Pad to control the pitch and angle of the bike when landing tricks and jumps. It’s not a new take on 2D bike racing games, but it is a solid implementation of the formula fans enjoy, and it’s also a marked improvement over some of the deficiencies in the original Freestyle. There are still times when I felt like the physics were a wee bit off, but it’s nothing game breaking, nor is it constant. Just expect to see your bike do some weird things here and there when pulling off jumps and such!

All of this racing and stunting is done with the aim of earning that cash money so you can soup up your bike and your look. The customization fell flat for me when it came to overhauling the biker himself, however. None of the clothing in Freestyle 2 really resonated with me or had me anxious to keep grinding for dollars to obtain it. Perhaps if players could have had the ability to produce their own custom outfits it would have been more appealing, but the stock selection was somewhat bland (and… odd). That said, souping up your bike is fun, and definitely worth the investment of time and effort. I was able to tweak my bike to suit my own preferences, which in turn spurned me on to keep trying to get a five-star ranking on each course.

The last big chunk of Freestyle 2 that we’ll cover is also very significant: the track editor. This is a carryover from the first installment in the series and it’s wonderfully implemented once again. There’s a multitude of different items and features that can be utilized to create tracks, but in a marked improvement over the original, this time around those tracks can be shared online! It’s a wonderful way of sharing creations, but the lone caveat here is that the only way to exchange tracks is by swapping a code that grants access to your creation. This wouldn’t be so bad, but there’s no way of doing this through the game itself-in short, you have to find a way to manually get a hold of other people’s track codes. It sucks, but considering there are a number of different ways that this can be worked around (Reddit message boards, Tweeting, email, etc.), it’s not a killer flaw, but a bit disappointing, nonetheless.

Considering the quality on-hand here and the overall level of polish, Freestyle 2 has gone above and beyond what one might expect from the average eShop game. The gameplay is fun and tight, and though the physics can get a little weird in spots, this is largely everything about the first Freestyle writ larger and better. I wasn’t a fan of all of the customization features on offer, but I did enjoy tweaking my bike, and I especially liked how easy it was to make my own tracks. Though the inability to exchange track codes in-game is a glaring flaw, it’s one that can be easily worked around—which I frankly suspect the design team was aware of when they put together the game. 3DS might be getting a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still an excellent platform with compelling software like Urban Trial Freestyle 2.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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