A recent perusal of any well-stocked newsagent will have revealed Trickstyle demanding a number of front covers from the slew of new Dreamcast magazines, while the PC version has slipped out largely unnoticed. Perhaps this is because it can easily be dismissed as a console game, or perhaps it's simply a measure of the quality of games available for the PC. Whatever, it's here, and graphically at least, it's comfortably a match for The Awesome Power Of Dreamcast™. But we're not here to debate the merits of various systems, we're here to tell you whether stuff is good or not, and if you've already looked at the score you'll realise that Trickstyle is nearer the former.
If you haven't worked it out yet, boarding is the order of the day. Not your common or garden skate or snow variety though, but a new discipline descriptively known as hoverboarding. You can't get them in Halfords, but high street retail is a different experience in the 23rd century. Yes, it's a hackneyed futuristic scenario, as the screenshots might suggest. In summary: some Japanese blokes invent anti-gravity technology, no-one's interested, said Japanese blokes flood the world using global warming, everyone's suddenly interested, hovering cities spring up, world order breaks down, nobody needs to work, boredom sets in, someone invents the hoverboard, a new sport is born.
That sport comprises Trickstyle, and involves racing one of nine outlandish characters around three stylised cities. Despite its futuristic bent, Trickstyle is essentially a boarding game, and as such involves pulling off a number of fancy tricks, some of which will be familiar to snowboarders, and others which have clearly been made up. A number of other boarding disciplines have had an influence, and during a race the speedluge position can be assumed for a bit of extra pace, although by way of compensation controlling the board while lying on your back is more difficult. Conversely, the boogie drill position involves lying on your front, and enables you to knock opponents out of the way, as well as smash through sheets of glass without sustaining any damage. During races, various routes can be taken by leaping over obstacles and so forth, with WipEout-style speed arrows littered around the courses.
Between races, there is the option to take on secondary challenges, such as riding through a series of hoops in a given time, or pulling off stunts in a special arena. Rather than simply offering a chance to show off, these challenges are actually useful in that bonuses can be earned such as a new board or a new trick which can be utilised in a race situation.
The races themselves are hectic affairs, and require a sizeable amount of manual dexterity to constantly change position and swerve around the various pitfalls, some of which can be fatal. The physics takes some getting used to, as unlike snowboarding or skateboarding there's no purchase against the ground, and no real way of braking other than cornering tightly or releasing the thrust key. A lot of swearing is involved as crashes are commonplace, although your race position can usually be recovered. It does seem a little contrived, as no matter how badly you mess up, you can easily catch up with the rest of the field and almost every race goes to the wire, with victory sometimes secured by hundredths of a second. However, despite - or perhaps because of -this, it can be quite compulsive and will have you slapping the keyboard frantically for another go. Winning one race opens up the next one and it continues in a linear fashion, offering no great incentive to re-race old courses.
In the short term at least, Trickstyle is a lot of fun. It might be little more than WipEouton a board, but it is extremely polished and has some original touches. Even the generic dance music is listenable. However, its longevity is in doubt and with no championship mode as such it lacks much lasting appeal. An accomplished player will be able to get through the majority of the 15 courses within a couple of days, and the other challenges, while certainly well-designed and cleverly balanced, aren't necessarily enough to warrant a great deal of commitment. Trickstyle does what it does well, and for those with a limited attention span it's a perfectly good game. However, two weeks down the line it'll probably be tomorrow's chip paper. But that's console games for you.
Take a bit of boarding, throw in some pseudo-Manga characters, set the whole thing in the future and top it off with some outrageous stunts. That's what Criterion Studios have done and the result is Trickstyle, which can loosely be described as a futuristic hoverboard stunt racer.
The futuristic bit probably goes without saying; we've yet to witness any actual boarding that involves permanently hovering a couple of inches off the ground and tearing about with the aid of a jet propulsion unit. However, a bloke was recently arrested for being drunk in charge of a motorised skateboard, and Trickstyle would appear to be a natural progression from this rudimentary effort. You can scarcely switch on the TV these days without seeing some goatee-bearded buffoon prancing about on a bit of wood, be it snowboarding, skateboarding, bodyboarding, wakeboarding, sky surfing or street luge, and all of these disciplines have had some influence on the dynamics of Trickstyle.
Stylistically, the game doffs its cap to the artwork of comics such as 2000AD and The Silver Surfer, as well as films like Rollerball, The Running Man, and the pinnacle of cinematic genius that was Back To The Future II, which all '80s enthusiasts should remember actually featured a hoverboard.
If you think this all sounds a bit 'futuristic sport', then you'd be right to worry, as the only decent game ever to carry that label was Speedball II on the Amiga.
Trickstylehas its base firmly rooted in boarding though, and the future tag is little more than an excuse to have a gravity-defying powerboard, and to throw in some fancy locations. Along with a huge velodrome, these will be a Future London, Neo Manhattan and an Aerial Tokyo, the bulk of the city having been swamped due to global warming. Each city will be recognisable, yet extremely modified, for instance, St Paul's Cathedral will appear largely unaltered, albeit dwarfed by an array of shiny glass carbuncles.
Races take place through the cities, with the major landmarks connected via a unique nodal system, enabling you to plot your own course. The stunts are predictably elaborate, although the designers are keen to stress that they're not just for show, and as well as earning bonuses some are actually a prerequisite for winning a race. Trickstylc will be out in September, so that gives you just enough time to grow an elaborate chin-glove, adopt some moronic-slang and get blunted. Radical.
Just when you thought it was safe to venture into your local video game retailer and see shelves devoid of futuristic gen-x hoverboard racers, TrickStyle comes along. Luckily, the game has two things going for it: Thus far it's a lot of fun to play, and second it's on the Dreamcast--so it looks better than similar games on other systems.
The premise is what you'd expect from a hipster game though: World War III comes and goes, after which a time of peace falls over the land--this creates a Utopia of sorts. Since only a handful of people actually need to work, a group of extremely bored and inventive urban youths decide to do something nutty: Surf through the cities of the world (London, New York and Tokyo) on gravity-defying hoverboards, racing and performing stunts. These people are called Urban Surfers.
The graphics are the main feature of TrickStyle that stand out from the get-go. Even when compared to other Dreamcast titles, it's something special. It has all kinds of graphical effects. And thankfully the feel of the game matches its looks. Control is tight, races make sense and the overall progression of the game and how it's organized feels right. But it's not quite complete, so things may very well change. The game works like most other racers: Finish first place on a particular stage, and you can move onto the next one. Now race against that area's boss.
Then the next area opens up and more courses are available, and so on and so forth. Each course has a number of hidden shortcuts and alternate routes for maximum replayability. And of course you can perform tricks in each level for points--but in this version it was more for show than anything else.
There are also two-to four-player race modes--although there is no online support planned. In addition to everything else, TrickStyle features a number of challenges that take place in the game's hub area. These challenges consist of object collection, rail-sliding and other tasks. Complete one and you get a new trick in your arsenal. And finally, by playing the TrickStyle VMU mini-games, you'll get access to hoverboard upgrades in the actual game.
The first thing you'll notice about TrickStyle is its incredible graphics. The game is filled with tons of detailed polygon models and textures, and all kinds of fancy effects. It really is a great example of what the Dreamcast is capable of. Next, you'll notice the game runs at a continuous 30 fps. It's quick--not too quick, but definitely quick enough. Then, after a few races you'll notice the control, and how it's pretty tricky to get the hang of. And that's when the game gets interesting. When you're having trouble getting past a stage, it may be time to learn a new trick. Once you learn the trick and complete the course you were having trouble with, you get a new board. Once you get a new board, you can move on to the next circuit...and so goes the game. It sounds like standard racing game stuff, but TrickStyle does it with style. On the negative side though, beautifully designed courses are often far too short. And one track in particular (the 5th track on the Japan circuit) is so ridiculously hard, it'll drive you to drink--even though it's admittedly the coolest-looking track ever. Basically, they could've prepared you better. And lastly the Al could've been more balanced. It's either way too good, or actually slows down for you when you're in last place. On a side note, the VMU mini-game is fun but doesn't really do much for the game.
Trickstyle, a game that's neither tricky nor stylish. Well. OK, it's a tittle tricky. It certainly does take a while to get used to the controls, but once you do, the game instantly gets better. Since performing tricks often boosts your speed, you'll need to pull them out often. I also like how different moves can smoothly transition into each other. But call me old-fashioned, 1 just can't get into riding a board without wheels. What, no grinds? Sacrilege!
Imagine a cross between WipeOut and a skateboarding game, and you'll be pretty much there. It looks absolutely fantastic, but there are some things about it that I'm not a big fan of. Maybe it's just me, but I found the tricks way too difficult to come to grips with. It just didn't feel natural. Couple that with the weirdly erratic Al in the other racers, and it all feels a bit off balance. And what's with the VMU game? My phone has the same function built into it!
If you're into hoverboards and really pretty graphics TrickStyle is right up your alley. To some extent it's more show than go but not horribly so. Think of it as your introduction to the world of DC graphics. The courses are pretty darned creative if not a little hard to master. The tricks are pretty tough as well. Overall TrickStyle doesn't do much for me. It certainly doesn't break new ground, it simply polishes up the oT futuristic hoverboard genre a bit.
Are you "board" of the same old skateboard and snowboard games? TrickStyle Is looking to reinvent the genre with outstanding graphics and silky gameplay.
Tricks Are far Skids
TrickStyle, one of the most popular games at E3, takes the "alternative" transportation genre of skate/snow/hoverboarding and flips it on its butt You pick one of nine futuristic players, then hop on your choice of boards that are rated by skill, speed, and strength. After that, the world is your half-pipe, and you gleam as you go, busting moves and tricks off several super-realistic tracks, all themed after real locales, such as Washington, D.C., London, and Tokyo.
Chairman nf the Board
The game's controls are nearly finished, and Acclaim has little to worry about. You can easily pull off stunts with style, and game speed, although a little slow, can certainly be improved before the launch. Great looks, moves, and concept could all point toward a great launch title for Acclaim and the Dreamcast.
Stunts are not merely a dressing for TrickStyle's salad--your ability to pull off tricks will determine how you place in each race. You have to competitively trash each course, finding shortcuts (of which there are plenty) and flying under, over, and through your opponents. Each track and each character is so amply detailed and infused with such incredible realism that you can actually see muscles twitch when players jump into the air. Plus, there's almost zero clipping and absolutely no troublesome draw-in.
Another great graphical foray for the Dreamcast will be TrickStyle, a stunt-based, futuristic hoverboard racing game that challenges the eyes as well as the thumbs. You'll compete in arenas that tower above metropolitan centers such as Manhattan, Tokyo, and London. The dazzling scenery and fluid character animation will short-circuit your brain as you bust off flips, heel-grabs, or even briefly ride your board like a street luge. TrickStyle will likely be a slick ride for the coolest of boarders.