ReviewsReview: Skate City

Review: Skate City

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For many people, sport is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life. Whether you are throwing yourself down a mountain, riding a wave, or grinding rails, you lose yourself in the moment. When you are free to do your thing, nothing in the world matters. It is just you, your board, and the great outdoors. Skate City aims to replicate this feeling with its chilled out vibes and addictive gameplay.

Developed by Agens and Room 8 and published by Snowman, this is a side-scrolling skateboarding fanatics dream. You are free to explore three cities, pulling off whatever tricks take your fancy. You can also take on challenges at each location, trying to score a maximum of three stars per stage. Whichever you choose, you are guaranteed a fun and relaxing time, even when you repeatedly fall on your face.

Skate City ramps up the difficulty pretty quickly.

The phrase practise makes perfect reflects every aspect of Skate City’s gameplay. Starting out in LA, you are introduced to the fundamentals. You are told how to jump, spin, grind, and perform a plethora of tricks. You then move to Oslo and finally Barcelona. The further afield you travel, the more challenging the game becomes. No longer do you focus on dodging the odd fallen bin, or rough piece of land. No, you must leap humongous chasms, and avoid crowds of people.

Even with all this pressure and difficulty, you’ll find that you won’t stress. The repeated falling and crashing comes with the territory of attempting crazy jumps. If you fail, and you will, you simply brush yourself off, get on the board, and try again. Its simplicity and short stages make it super addictive, and missing out on three stars isn’t acceptable. You tell yourself you’ll definitely nail it this time, hit the reset button and attempt to learn from your mistakes.

It’s time to ride at night.

Earn points by being the best.

Pulling off the biggest and best moves isn’t just about bragging rights! The harder you play, the more points you earn. Each of the game modes allows you to collect points that can be spent on unlocking the additional cities, cosmetics, and special moves. The more stars you collect, the more points you earn. Customise your rider and his equipment with many choices available. They sadly add little to the gameplay, but they make you look slick as you grind past unsuspecting pedestrians.

The endless mode allows you to take on unlimited laps of each venue. In this setting, time will melt away as you perfect your tricks, complete each objective, or attempt to make videos to send to sponsors to earn more points. If you tire of this, you are free to ignore the tasks, and simply ride around each city losing yourself in its environment.

If, however, you fancy some structure to your gameplay, you can try to master each challenging stage. These comprise; races, escaping the law, landing tricks, getting a high score, and so on. The events are tiered in groups of three, you must complete each set before you can move on. So, pay attention to the details, practise those tricks, and complete all the objectives.

Hang time

Skate City’s cartoon style is basic but pleasant to look at.

Skating games usually adopt an immersive open-world 3D approach where you are free to explore every portion of the map. Skate City went for a basic style with a 2D side-scrolling perspective that was pleasant to look at. The well-drawn images of each person stood out against the changing backdrops you passed. A nice variety of landscapes are used in each city, as is a selection of colours and tones to represent the different times of the day. With smooth animations and crunching tumbles, this was a wonderful game to look at.

I’ve mentioned its relaxed and chilled vibes, and that stems from the soundtrack that was used. The well-paced music and upbeat sounds don’t pressurise you to act rashly. I was surprised when I heard the audio as I expected something more aggressive, but I really enjoyed the direction that the developers had taken. This choice prevented the game from becoming another frustration inducing, controller smashing endeavour that seems to be all the rage.

That’s one hell of a landing.

Easy to play, but confusing to master.

From the off, you’ll be comfortable playing this. None of the actions or tasks is difficult to perform individually, but the challenge comes when you try linking combos, or you must complete specific tricks. If you are comfortable with the lingo for each trick, you’ll master this a lot quicker than I ever could. With a long list of moves to perform and specific ways to pull them off, it would never be easy for me to perfect this. Fortunately, a guide talks you through it all, but it doesn’t look very professional constantly stopping the game to see which trick to do next. However, once you familiarise yourself with the controls, you’ll be racing around the streets without a care in the world.

Skate City is one of those casual games that will constantly draw you back in to play. With limited places to visit you may be worried that the action will become stale quickly, but I never tired of it. With the freedom to do what you want and a difficult achievement list to complete, there is enough to keep you coming back for more. Priced at £12.49, this proves to be great value for money, and it’s a game that will keep you going for hours.

Skate City is one indie title that you shouldn’t miss out on.

With so many games demanding that you dedicate your life to them, it was refreshing to find one that allowed you to play at your pace. You have the freedom to do as you wish, and I loved its casual nature. With a gentle learning curve and an ever-increasing layer of difficulty, this offers enough for players of all abilities. The indie market is a tough nut to crack with many games getting lost in the churn of new titles being added to the pot. You shouldn’t miss out on the joy that Skate City brings, so buy a copy here! Grab your board, select your outfit, and take to the streets!

SUMMARY

Skate City offers a gradual difficulty curve and many tricks to perform. Take in three different cities and complete a plethora of challenges. Customise your rider and your board and record your best tricks for the sponsors.

+ A clean and simple visual presentation.
+ Relaxed audio.
+ Simple to learn, but tough to master.
+ The challenges offer replay value.
+ Great value for money.
- Not enough locations.
- I would have liked a skate park option.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.
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