Genre: Platform, racing
Platform(s): iOS (reviewed), Android
Ubisoft just released the follow up to the excellent Trials Evolution, called Trials Fusion for the PC and consoles. Accompanying the release of Fusion, Ubisoft has released its mobile counterpart, Trials Frontier. We loved Trials Fusion, but do we share the same impressions for Frontier?
Trials Frontier brings itself as a free-to-play racing game, where you compete against international leaderboards for faster times taken to complete a track. Fusion lacked any form of backstory and plot, but Frontier in contrast has who lot of it. Over the top, they both are principally the same games, but the later being free-to-play has introduced a bunch of mechanics to the supplement the f2p system.
Trials Frontier has a post-renaissance setting, and the backstory revolves around chasing a guy called “Butch” and his so called ‘minions.’ Butch has apparently robbed a peaceful and prospering town of its motorbike technology, and with that the image the town carried, and is on the run. A bunch of characters aid you in catching up with Butch. The cartographer reveals new locations on the map. A candy addict gives you bike blueprints in exchange for candy, which you earn after completing tasks such as beating someone in a race. There are many others too, let us not spoil it for you. But the just of it is that Trails Frontier is a big item collection saga, just like you’d expect from a free-to-play mobile game.
And with collecting items, comes crafting better ones to upgrade your bike. And the game is cleverly designed to make your bike obsolete if you don’t want to upgrade. If you do wan’t to upgrade, you’ll have to race more and more and collect more and more items. You have a fuel tank, which depletes every time you start a race, and refills slowly. You can buy coins to instant-refill your fuel tank. If you’re out of fuel, you’ll have to wait if you want to race, or pay for a refill. A classic free-to-play monetisation mechanic, but this isn’t the end of it.
To complete missions, you need to gather a hell load of high quality items, which are virtually impossible to farm, so then the game again pushes you to spend money to buy “Gems” which you can use to craft items. I chose to not pay at all, to try to beat the system, but I ended up putting in a hell load of hours in my quest to progress. I did progress, but at snails pace.
Sure, all these free-to-play mechanics sound a drag, but beneath the horrendous monetisation model lies a game this is really, really good. There are different types of bike classes, a balance bike, an agile bike and speed bike. The difference in how each bike from its respective class controls is noticeable and unique. The game, like its PC and console counterpart, is purely physics based, with gameplay mechanics being believable, precise and challenging enough to allow room for mastery.
Trials Frontier might by a typical free-to-play game, but don’t let get in the way of you not playing. This is a game that still deserves your time and attention, because if works great, looks great, is challenging and fun. Deep down, Trails Frontier succeeds as a great game, only hampered by its free-to-play elements. I’d rather pay Rs. 600 ($10) for this game and enjoy it thoroughly, than spending small amounts of cash to unlock as I progress.