The mobile iteration – Trials Frontier – released in 2014 with its free-to-play trappings and did an admirable job of striving for the series’s famed gameplay balance, even without the benefit of a physical controller. It’s a fascinating journey then, to see that mobile version head upstream to Apple’s digital-only console, bypass the Siri Remote, and now require a controller. The move to the big screen and the controller requirement gives Trials Frontier the opportunity to really strut its stuff, and prove its worth as a console title among the wider Trials series.
Having spent a couple of hours with Frontier last night, I can tell you that this is the sort of game I bought an MFi controller for. The parallax scrolling of the 2.5D planes, with beautiful backgrounds and imaginative level design, coupled with the brilliant precision that Redlynx have thankfully nailed in this Apple TV version, make for a console title I’m very happy to have a copy of.
There is a growing list of games that I seem to be enjoying much more on Apple’s digital-only console than I did on iOS – Asphalt 8, Dungeon Hunter 5, and now Trials Frontier. I’m forming the impression that the addition of a big flat screen, a good home stereo, and a physical controller seems to add a lot of value to the time spent in various free-to-play titles that I quickly grew tired of on mobile. It’s a phenomenon that fascinates me, and one I’m sure I’ll explore further. My preference will always lean towards a paid title with no micro-transactions, but these titles feel like so much effort has gone into crafting them that regardless of their business model, confining them to the mobile environment seems to be stopping them from being what they really want to be.
Missing out by only one week, Trials Frontier would’ve sat very nicely on The Best Apple TV Games: Year One list, and will surely be a strong contender for year two. Download it and add it to your Apple TV’s catalogue, you’ll be glad you did. Right then, I’m off to unlock a lot more tracks.