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Touchgrind Skate 2 review (iOS / Universal)

December 1, 2013

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10 word description: Skateboarding sequel. 3 different parks, 4 modes, unlockable board components.

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10 word review: Slick, addictive, detailed simulation. Initial perseverance required for full enjoyment.

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You will like this if you enjoy: Skateboarding games. A great control method that is really only possible on a touch screen. A game with a considerable amount of challenge. Customising a skateboard deck with any picture you like.

My SoulCalibur deck – just because I can

The good news: Graphics are realistic and very detailed – look closely at the grip tape in some of the review screen shots, also the accurately degrading condition of the board underside the more you use it. Skating sound effects are clear and appropriate. Control method is close to perfect for touch screen and allows a surprising depth and complexity of input based on a very simple concept. The different parks offer a nice variety of scenery and trick opportunities. Unlockable board components give some great customisation options, particularly the DIY deck where you can import and adjust any image from your photo library. Replay mode and unlockable S.K.A.T.E. mode fill out the app and make it feel even more polished and full-featured. No IAPs! Video tutorials for training and reviewing what is required for challenges.

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The bad news: Although the controls work well, the initial learning curve is steep, with a considerable amount of potential frustration as you try to master and remember the different gestures and tap/swipe command combos. However, this is a very minor issue when balanced against the enormous amount of fun to be had here.

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Arcadelife verdict: Despite coming incredibly close, Touchgrind Skate 2 is not a perfect game, but it’s a great example of what a perfect touch screen game should be. The absence of a player character and standard ‘pad+buttons’ controls  is rather strange the first time you play, but it soon becomes apparent that your physical interaction with the virtual board is not only well conceived and responsive but also very entertaining. The skateparks are attractive, cleverly designed stunt arenas that feel more like real locations than simply a bunch of ramps, bowls and rails cobbled together in a video game.

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Challenges (there’s a separate list for each park) can be very tough, but the knowledge that they are possible – if only I wasn’t such a lame noob – keeps you plugging away until you succeed. The ability to zoom out into a top-down view and choose your restart location is very helpful, and yet further evidence that the developers really want you to enjoy this game. Board customisation, while entirely cosmetic, is very nice to have, especially the option to put your own image on the underside of the deck. In summary, Touchgrind Skate 2 is a full-featured, polished and very enjoyable skateboard simulation with a steep learning curve but very rewarding gameplay and classic touch screen controls.

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Here’s a couple of minutes of footage I recorded, showing the interface and a couple of the parks. Note the “Danmaku Unlimited 2” board design and the wonderful way it looks rather wrecked after a whole lot of grinding and slides.

 

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 10/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 9.5/10

RAD

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.1
iTunes link

Illusion Labs website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
5th gen iPod Touch (iOS 7.0.4)
4th gen iPad (iOS 7.0.4)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.
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