When I got my first iPhone, one of the games that immediately set me on my App Store adventure was Touch Grind. I’ve always been a fan of the Tony Hawk games, and even before that I loved playing with those Tech Deck finger skateboards, so the idea of living that out on my phone was awesome. While that game was good, it had some room for improvement, and for a long while it seemed that skating games were a niche that no one was touching on the App Store – that is until True Skate ($1.99) arrived.
This game brings much of the same experience as Touch Grind, but it does it with a little more depth, and a slightly different control scheme. It definitely caters to skateboard fans, but it’s fun and simple enough that anyone can enjoy it. The game is also available for Android, though this review focuses on the iOS version.
In True Skate, you are essentially just rolling around a skatepark pulling off sweet tricks. Just like skating in the real world, much of the satisfaction comes from pulling off a new trick that you never thought possible. For those who need a little more direction, you can press the pause button on the top of the screen and choose from the available missions.
These include tasks like following the leader to an objective, scoring a certain amount of points within the time limit among other exacting challenges. They give you some very specific goals to shoot for, and they reward you with in-game currency, which lets you customize your board.
Controlling the board works just like a real skateboard, or at least as close to it as you can get with a touchscreen. You swipe next to the board to make it move, touch the middle of the board and move left or right to steer, and swipe from the tail to go airborne. From there, it’s a matter of swiping the board in different directions to perform tricks and grinds.
The game features a detailed tutorial to get you up and running, but you will be left to learn the more advanced tricks on your own. It only takes a few minutes to run through it, but it’s essential for getting you used to manipulating the board.
A few achievements are also in the game to help keep you motivated, and whenever you set a new best trick or best line the game will alert you, so you constantly have something to shoot for while you play. For players who can’t enjoy simply skating around for the fun of it, these little things should help keep you involved and motivated to keep going. But really, the game’s mechanics are just so fun that the skating should be more than enough to keep you playing for hours on end.
Audio & Visuals
True Skate looks fantastic. Because it’s only rendering the board and a small skatepark, it’s able to really beef up the graphics and provide a truly beautiful experience. I was running it on an iPhone 4S and the framerate remained silky smooth at all times, even as I was going crazy flipping the board around all over the place.
The game offers some nice visual cues when you swipe or tap anywhere on the screen so you can tell exactly where you are touching. Visually, there is really nothing negative that can be said; it’s just a solid-looking iPhone game in every way.
The sound effects make you feel even more like you are skating. There is no music provided with True Skate, so you can really focus on the sound of your board as it makes contact with the ground. It also includes the distant sound of traffic, which gives everything a nice little hint of urban ambience.
Value & Game Life
For $1.99, the game is a great value. You only get the one skatepark, but there are plenty of rails and ramps for you to play around on. A second park is available for an in-app purchase if you want a little more variety, but you can easily get $1.99 worth of fun playing that single park. True Skate doesn’t limit what kind of tricks you can pull off, and that is really what this game is all about.
With a game like this the amount of life you will get out of it will depend on how much you enjoy the gameplay. Sure, it has the achievements and missions that extend the life, but if you don’t enjoy skating around, none of that will matter. Thankfully, the handling has been carefully crafted, and if you have even the slightest interest in skating, you will absolutely love this game. It’s one of those experiences that you can keep coming back to over and over, improving your line, jumping a gap and stringing together satisfying tricks which makes it great value for two bucks.
If you want an authentic finger boarding experience on iOS, you definitely need to play True Skate. It’s easy to pick up and start playing, but mastering the advanced techniques requires some practice. It’s the accurate game to pick up when you just have a couple of minutes to kill, which is well-suited for a mobile device.
Have you played True Skate? What did you think? Do you prefer this game or Touch Grind? Hit the comments section below and let us know!
Download: True Skate ($1.99)