Night Skate review
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Night Skate review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on February 24th, 2022
Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: STYLISH SKATER
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Night Skate is less concerned with systems and more with vibes, and it feels great as a result.


Price: $2.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone XR

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar

Every time I boot up Night Skate, I play way more sessions of it than I anticipate. This one-button, 2D skating game has some great retro stylings, but more than that it makes a very simple gameplay idea feel very demanding and extremely satisfying to pull off. Every jump in this game feels like its own reward, making it a pretty special experience.

Simple skater

Night Skate is essentially an endless runner, though you play as a skateboarder. You pick a level and you start moving forward immediately and automatically. The only time you interrupt the flow of the wheels on the pavement is by tapping on the screen to jump. When you first start doing this, you might jump over a pit or some road cones to avoid ending your run or losing points, but soon you'll see a rail you want to grind on or some cones you can kiss the tip of with your board to earn some bonus points.

Once you get the hang of things, you learn Night Skate is more of a game about scoring and tricking off of as many things as possible in a row to earn multipliers than it is about survival. The game never gets faster or otherwise tries to introduce more complicated level layouts deeper into a run. It's all about coasting along, seeing a string of potential objects to trick off of, and trying to nail a combo through some quick and precise tapping.

Jubilant jumping

There's no point at which you need to manage balance, or do air tricks, or even dodge each and every obstacle to keep a run going. Night Skate is truly all about mastering its jump mechanic, and this is so satisfying to do because this game's jump button is expertly tuned to respond the way you need it to provided you've put in the time to learn how to use it.

The feedback you get from landing on rails or tapping the top of obstacles to string together over a dozen tricks makes for a kind of pure and focused game experience that you don't see to much of these days. Its simplicity is matched with an incredible Game Boy-like visual style and charming chiptune soundtrack. It feels like a throwback in every way, and I mean that in the best ways possible.

Tricky vibes

Every time you end a run in Night Skate, your score is tallied and it contributes to a meter that unlocks new things depending on the milestone you hit. Sometimes it's a new color scheme. At others, it's a new level or song to cruise along to. Depending on how quickly you learn to rack up points and how much you play, this could take days, but I found myself unlocking everything in the game in one evening with it.

This is by no means a bad thing, though. I'm glad Night Skate is a game that is much more focused on playing well on any given run than it is on stringing you along with rewards. That said, I wouldn't have been opposed to seeing a few more levels in the game, or even a daily challenge or leaderboard to add a reason or two more to come back to it. Outside of that, there are some minor inelegant aspects to Night Skate, including its limited pause functionality (i.e. it doesn't pause when you close the app and there's no countdown on resuming a session) and a few too many menu taps to change levels, color palettes, and music. These are relatively minor complaints, though.

The bottom line

Night Skate is one of the most refreshing runner-type games I've played in a long time thanks to its throwback design and aesthetic. The game just puts off a great vibe and rewards you for vibing with it. There's nothing complicated here, and that's exactly what makes it so special.

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