It all begins with a journey across the rocks and ruins in a setting that closely resembles the red rocks in Arizona. The game’s entire vibe is, in fact, very Western. It’s just you and your motor bike, riding on cliffs and looping train tracks through a desert that some animals could not survive, as their skeletal remains border the path on which you travel. After you make your way to the end of the cave, the rocks collapse on you. Don’t worry—this is supposed to happen; you won’t die. Instead you’ll find yourself in a place called Home Village, where you’re greeted by two strangers. The story line in Trials Frontier involves two major occurrences; I will call these occurrences the wreck and the new life.
The Wreck: As the game begins and you ride through three locations (the cave, the cave entrance and the three bridges), these trials are the only ones in the game that are untimed and meant to be practice for the real races. At the end of the first bike ride, you experience the crash that is ‘supposed to happen’ and doesn’t kill you. Unlike the other crashes you may experience in other trails, which may happen simply because you forgot to lean forward or backward to approach the curves and loops, this crash is an inevitable occurrence that leads to the next plot point. The next section of the game is a broad one that leads to every task you’ll do in the game from then on. The game calls this “a new start.”
The New Life: after the crash, when you’re greeted by the two people who refer to you as ‘stranger,’, the woman introduces herself to you as Cybil. She seems to be a leader in Home Village and the owner of the Saloon. At least, that’s where she always asks you to meet her. The thing about this ‘new start’ is that it comes with responsibility. When Cybil says she needs help and throws out questions like “you’ll help us won’t you,” it’s not an actual question. You have to help; you can’t say no. In ‘The New Life’ you’ll meet characters of the Home Village, some of whom are there to make your tasks fun and some who are villains. It won’t be far into the game before you realize that these characters are what make this game so interesting.
Inside the Saloon of Home Village, you’ll meet The Cartographer, who says he’s working on map of the world. Well, the world according to Trials Frontier. This map consists of all the places you will race to meet your ultimate goal, which you’ll find out later. Next, you’ll meet a sassy little girl named Mirella who introduces herself as ‘an addict’… ‘a candy addict.’ Just like most addicts of various substances, she’s all about talking you into giving her money for her addiction in exchange for something; in Trials Frontier, the exchange is information, and you’ll need it. Also in the Saloon, you’ll meet The Fanboy, who is exactly what his name insinuates. The Fanboy is a fan of every biker in Home Village and will easily become your fan if you’re able to do the tricks he asks for … not that you have a choice or anything. Once you complete the tricks and race to the finish in record time, you’ll receive rewards, like coins, fuel, and for the ultimate prize… a medal. Sledge is the last new Saloon character you’ll meet in this section of the game. He is a fellow biker with a garage, and he’s all about helping you upgrade your bike to catch the town villain, Butch. This turns out to be your ultimate goal.
Trials Frontier is superior to many racing mobile games, but it is a disappointment compared to the console Trials series. The mobile version has the characteristics of Trials, but lacks the simplicity of being able to play a game based on ability, instead of playing until you run out of energy and coins and have to go into your own wallet. But if there’s anything to be learned about comparing mobile games to their console counterparts, it’s that you’ll always be disappointed. This is why I have decided to grade Trials Frontier purely on its own.
The game is fun and pretty easy to grasps as far concepts go. But, as far as winning, everything is based on luck. You’ll need specific items in order to get to the next level, and these items are acquired by spinning a wheel at the end of each trial. You have no control on what you land on; therefore, your level of playing skill does not help you progress. The story line can be equally frustrating, as throughout the game, characters make references to things that they never quite explain. (Like, what exactly is behind the ‘mysterious red curtain?’) The game does have some twitches when it comes to controlling the bike. This is not a game that an average person should expect to win, just like Cybil says before you first race Butch. In fact, expect to die…a lot. In the words of Cybil from the quaint Home Village Saloon “For now, just try and make it to the finish line.”
Trials Frontier was developed by RedLynx and published by Ubisoft. It is available for Android and iOS.
Nichole is a freelance Entertainment Journalist who writes music, gaming and film-related articles. She has previously written for publications like FDRMX. You can follow her on Twitter @The_Tuckster.