Version Reviewed: 1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4s
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Skateboarding games come in cycles. First something new arrives on the scene that totally changes everything, like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. However, eventually the king will become old and ossified, allowing a hip young challenger like Skate to claim the throne and repeat the process. What’s so exciting about Skater is that it feels like the next contender, but it’s not quite there yet.
Skater is a first-person skateboarding simulator. Using a complex yet incredibly intuitive system of swipes, holds, and touches, players control a pair of disembodied feet while pulling off various tricks. I’m no skater myself, but the game does a great job of matching gestures with moves so that each stunt really feels like an extension of the player’s will. Swiping to jump and spin the board, holding to grab it, and touching to guide it to a grind rail all just make sense. And on mobile, it’s as fun as using a little finger skateboard.
Skater's creative, innovative controls are a diamond, and while what surrounds them is far from rough it can’t help but disappoint by comparison. Players are limited to a handful of skate parks with great, smooth, and realistic 3D graphics but tiny, cramped environments as well. However, the one major flaw with the controls is that general movement is cumbersome, so perhaps it’s for the best that the game shies away from open-world exploration. In these parks, players can record tricks, rack up high scores, purchase new boards, and download performances from other players to try and replicate. Players can even take turns competing to outdo each other in the game’s multiplayer mode.
But right now, Skater just feels like a really great demo or a proof of concept for its control scheme. Said controls are great, even if they still need a little tinkering, and they’re absolutely worth showing off. However, while what’s here is definitely fun enough to warrant a download, it has the potential to skate to even greater heights.