Developer: Illusion Labs
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina, iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

The original Touchgrind was one of the first games on the App Store that truly used multitouch controls to their potentital. Since then, so many games have continued to just use virtual controls, not truly taking advantage of their platform. However, Illusion Labs is back to show these sucka MCs just what’s up with the wonderful Touchgrind Skate 2.

TouchgrindSkate2-2The game has been reborn in 2013 as something more like the Tony Hawk Pro Skater games in that players skate around a various skatepark-y environments chaining together tricks like spins, flips, and edge grinds. There’s a lengthy tutorial that has players seeing how to pull off the various maneuvers, with the ability to go back and re-watch and try individual sections in case more practice is necessary. Once in the actual game players can play a 100 second mode where they try to get the most points in that time limit, or a best line mode where a chain of tricks in a short time period can be attempted with the goal being to get the highest-scoring line. This mode is endless, with players able to keep playing until they get a score they’re satisfied with.

Touchgrind Skate 2 has a definite learning curve to it as it’s not just about tapping a button to jump and holding down on a joystick to spin. Learning how to use one’s fingers and their particular placement on the board, realizing that even the most subtle of movements can have a big effect on what tricks are being done, where the board is going to go, and whether a lucrative combo will continue. It’s about mastering when the fingers should be off the board as much as when they are on it. It takes time to master even just executing ollies properly, but good runs will start to happen. Maybe an awesome trick will be pulled off accidentally, but soon the understanding of how and why, and the timing necessary to pull it off, will all become clear. It’s tremendously rewarding. And it really makes sense to think of the fingers as legs, minus the greater effect of gravity that real legs will have!

TouchgrindSkate2-3There’s also a turn-based multiplayer mode where players try to score more points in 30 seconds, starting from the same position. While it really is just two people playing for 30 seconds and comparing their different runs, it’s still fun and forces players to work quickly, so it’s a challenge of its own. At worst it’s a good diversion. The game is available on both iPad and iPhone, and it’s a trade-off between the two platforms: iPad provides a greater field of vision but the iPhone version is a bit more comfortable to play because the board is bigger on the smaller screen.

Yes, this game requires practice, and it might take a bit for it to truly make sense, but when it does, it can be something truly fantastic. Tired of games with virtual controls? Then it’s time to grind.


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