App Reviewed on: iPad Air
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Ah, skateboarding games. They take me right back to a time when owning a skateboard and hanging at the park with skating buds was the ‘in-thing’ to do. That and slamming out some crazy tricks on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Now there’s a new breed of skateboarding game in the form of Skateboard Party 2, and though I wouldn’t say there’s much party spirit here, for the majority of the time played it was good entertaining fun.
Unfortunately I was never that good at any game that required me to use two thumbs or fingers at the same time. This is probably why I played RPGs - less requirement for dexterity, more requirement to just kick butt. Here though, I’m out of my comfort zone. But I have a competitive streak, and I’m determined to play anything that reminds me of a childhood long gone.
The whole system is fairly straightforward. From the beginning there’s only a choice of one character, who is upgradeable from the outset by using basic EXP. Any EXP earned from this point forward will either go toward upgrading further for better equipment, or stats, or unlocking new skateparks and characters. EXP can take some time to build up for anyone who is remotely terrible at games like this (par exemple, moi), however.
Even so, the controls are extremely solid and highly responsive so it shouldn’t be too hard to rack up some points and grind those high rails. Using the left thumb stick to steer, the right icons are used in turn for ollies, grinding, and various tricks. The trick list is fairly extensive, but learning every trick isn’t really necessary for the casual gamer as just randomly smashing out various combos will do. For the hardcore gamers though, the free skate mode is a great approach for building up EXP and practicing tricks as the Career mode is limited to a measly 4 minutes per play session.
Unfortunately, moving on to the next skatepark wasn’t an easy affair when being terrible at this game doesn’t earn any favors. I constantly bailed, and it took me a while to find my way around the various obstacles. Advancing to the next stage required sinking five achievements, which came across a little problematic. That or earn 4000 EXP, which also takes time to accumulate. And while it's an extremely solid game, but for some reason I had trouble accessing the multiplayer portion. So unfortunately how this runs remains to be seen.
Finally, this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the killer rifftastic soundtrack, and the ability to play one’s own music (a welcome surprise!). And judging by the leaderboard there are folk out there who know how to ollie, grind, and kick-flip their way to the top of the ranks, so anyone with a competitive streak will quite possibly leap at the chance to indulge themselves in this impressive (but more tame) version of a Tony Hawk-esque game.