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Developer: miniclip.com
Price: $.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4 / iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Anyone familiar with miniclip’s extreme snowboarding game iStunt 2, is going to find Extreme Skater, by the same developers very familiar. But that’s not a bad thing. Like it’s predecessor, it has great pick-up-and play appeal, it’s fast-paced, and has accurate, uncomplicated, physics. Think of it as the gaming equivalent to a great beach read. The game’s not too deep, but it’s exciting, loaded with unlockables and achievements, and looks sharp.

I wish there weren’t a story as there is no need, but there is one and it has to do with collecting pieces of crystal that dislodged when an entity hit the earth. That sets the stage for the little skater to move through 72 levels each culminating in his finding a bright aqua crystalline beacon.

The game is tilt-controlled, not a favortie of mine, but very responsive, even in the HD version for iPad, and also rather forgiving. The basic goal is simply to make it through the roller-coaster-like levels without losing balance or running into anything sharp. As the game progresses simple gestures like a swipes for jumping or buttons for grabbing ropes are introduced as players try to spin, flip, grab, and grind their way to glory. Each level awards different achievements, not unlike those found in Jetpack Joyride, which really varies things up and adds a layer of replay value not normally seen in this sort of game.

Coins are scattered on each level and can be redeemed for an assortment of cosmetic upgrades like new boards, as well as to unlock new tricks. Once unlocked, a quick tutorial shows players how to use the new skill and then it’s available to conquer the increasingly difficult tracks. Of course, in-app purchases for coin bundles are available as well, but earning the in game currency isn’t that hard.

The visuals are really nice: Retina quality; lush fully-realized backgrounds; and not too flashy, with a generic soundtrack that I quickly muted. While the level achievements are fun, Game Center ones would be welcome too.

Extreme Skater has a gradual learning curve and keeps it simple, while including lots of extras for more serious players to enjoy. It’s not the most intense extreme sports game out there, but for a light summer diversion it’s a very solid, well-priced choice.


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