Skateboarding without broken bones, or scraped knees.
I get that urge whenever I see a skateboard to jump on it, and ollie the hell out of it. I like to think that it would bring me back to my youth, but that would be a total lie. I was never able to do anything cool on a skateboard, but I really wanted to. Somehow the fact that you look like a complete ass falling about on the ground from a board a couple of inches high deterred me. And the pain it would cause too. Thankfully for my ego I could become quite good at riding a skateboard in the games featuring Tony Hawk.
My passion for the board, culture and cool attitude awakened slightly again when Touchgrind was released for the iPhone. I got to play around, and doing tricks from a point of view where my fingers simulated my feet. It worked quite well, but something always felt slightly odd. Making the board go by just planting my fingers, or feet on it missed out on one important aspect. When a sequel was announced just a moment ago in time I got excited to see an even fuller skateboarding experience.
True Skate beat Touchgrind 2 to it. It hit the App Store without much hype, and that was a good thing as hype tends to be a bit skewed. True Skate comes from the developer of Jet Car Stunts True Axis. If Jet Car Stunts took the car trial racing to extremes True Skate takes skateboarding to a more pure realistic place.
The point of view is placed above, and behind the board in a kind of first person boarding perspective. The controls are all based on fingers used as feet like in Touchgrind. The big difference is that True Skate only has one foot on the board, and the other finger is used for power. Like in real life you have to work up the speed with you foot before you can attempt any tricks. To ollie you tap the back of the board to get it airborne, and then the middle to level it out for a clean landing. This is the basis for all tricks in True Skate.
Tricks are made by swiping the board in different directions once in the air. Flips are done to the left, and more advanced hold tricks to the right. The game goes for a quite realistic approach, as opposed to what you might be used to in the Tony Hawk series. At least I am not able to pull off more than two different tricks when catching big air. In my experience the most points I have been able to amass has been when grinding a rail slowly. It feels like cheating, and perhaps it is a bug but grinding can be done at almost no speed at all. As there is no button, or other way to initiate a grind than just landing on a rail or edge it is still not that easy to nail perfectly.
The tutorial is brilliant showing both in text, and motion what you are supposed to do. After the tutorial missions the game opens up, and you are free to skate to hearts content. There are also missions that you can attempt from the pause menu. These are however not that fun in my opinion. There are a lot of follow a ghost board missions that are both hard, and not very inventive. Considering how cool tracks are in Jet Car Stunts it is strange to me that the missions in True Skate couldn’t be more fun.
Without a story, a proper championship or even the standard two minutes to score as many points as possible the game lacks a lot of content. In the end that means that you either skate about to learn new tricks, and master the board or give the rather unimaginative missions a go. I hope to see the game evolving into something a bit more meaty. And yes I want to be able to customize my board too, please.
True Skate features some brilliant realistic graphics, and both the board and park could have been taken from real life. Cool lighting effects, and animation of the board as it flips through the air make me gasp. After skating about for a while I start to long for a new park to visit, or a school to grind about in. The game can feel a bit like a tech demo when this sensation sets in. This is further enhanced by the fact that the park is so barren, and I feel lonely. This is something I never felt in Touchgrind, as I always tried to beat high scores for new boards.
True Skate is a marvel showcasing what can only be done on a touch screen, a game that mimics the real life activity closely. You can develop your skills, or just skate about grinding rails. A lack of content, and a bit tedious missions draws the final impression down. Still it is one of those showcase games that every iOS owner should try, and show off to those less fortunate Android owners.
True Skate $1.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: True Axis Pty Ltd