Having started out as a Java game back in the year 2000, the Trials series has come a long way to end up as the addictive console title that it is today. With the series having built up a strong following on Xbox 360 and PC, Trials Fusion has now been released which also brings the title to Xbox One and PS4, and mobile game Trials Frontier has been designed to run alongside Trials Fusion, with the ability to link the games together for added bonuses.
Trials Frontier is a free-to-play game that utilises microtransactions for those looking to progress in the game more quickly. Much like with most games of this sort then, when you first start playing Trials Frontier everything is incredibly easy to improve and nothing takes too much time. There’s a fuel meter that uses up energy every time you start a race, it refills every time you level up though and at the start you’ll find that you’ll level up long before you ever have to begin worrying about replenishing your energy. As you might expect, as you progress through the game things begin to slow up and you may therefore find yourself thinking about putting real money into the game in order to work around this issue of things no longer being quite so instantaneous. Whilst some people really despise the microtransaction system in games and will criticise RedLynx for their utilisation of this system with Trials Frontier, truthfully there’s far more pressing concerns with Trials Frontier than its attempts to get people to put money into the game.
With the PC/console Trials titles you find that each track has its own quirks and personality, something that makes it a bit different and stand out; with Trials Frontier there’s a distinct lack of individuality with the tracks and for the most part things just seems very plain with nothing major to really differentiate one track from the next. As well as the vast majority of tracks feeling a little too familiar and samey, there’s also none of that excitement that you get with the PC/console title from managing to get past a particularly tricky part of a track. You sometimes make a bit of a mess of things and crash your bike, it’s usually due to user error rather than the track being genuinely difficult though, and if you fall off your bike it’s usually pretty simple to get it right at the second time of asking. Any mobile version of Trials was always likely to be more simple, it’s all a little bit too easy though and this combined with the generic nature of the majority of the tracks means that the game is only really particularly enjoyable in short bursts. Whilst it’s certainly a criticism of the game then that it’s only really at all fun for short periods, it may also be viewed as a blessing in disguise in that the game won’t pester you too often about microtransactions as you generally won’t be playing the game for long enough to run out of the fuel that would therefore lead to a prompt to spend money to keep playing.
A key plus point of the Trials series has always been in its multiplayer aspect. Much like Mario Kart, Trials games can be pretty fun to play by yourself, the real fun of the game comes from playing against friends though and also from comparing your scores to theirs. Whilst you can register with Uplay to compare your scores with friends in Trials Frontier, due to the numerous upgrades that can be made to bikes and the role that microtransactions can play, it’s not necessarily a like for like comparison and you can’t be entirely sure whether you’re better/worse at the game than a friend or if they merely have less/more capable bikes. It’s still fun to beat your friends’ top scores, it’s just not quite the same absolute feeling of triumph though as you’re not sure whether you’ve beaten them on merit or machinery.
All in all, Trials Frontier lacks the charm and quality of its PC/console contemporary and is not the kind of game that you can really lose yourself to in quite the same way. It’s an okay mobile game that can be reasonably enjoyable for short periods of time, play the game for any longer though and you definitely soon find yourself getting tired of the repetitive levels and ease of progression. The only thing that ever stops you from progressing through the game as quickly as you might like is when you run out of energy, and rather than wanting to sink money into the game to continue playing you’re usually a bit bored already and it’s easier then to just switch the game off for a while and maybe come back to it later.
Trials Frontier is worth playing for the fact that it’s free, and as a free mobile game there are certainly a lot worse than this out there, certainly don’t expect to have as much fun with the game as you would with any PC/console edition of Trials though and definitely don’t imagine that you’re going to lose anywhere near as many hours to this game as you would to Trials Fusion. Trials Frontier is an okay touch-screen game, a lot of what makes the series so great is lost here though and whilst it may still have the Trials name attached to it this is definitely not the Trials series at its brilliant best.