Gamechanger World has a history of making iOS titles featuring popular artists of the independent and underground music scenes. Gamechanger presents their newest game, Skate Madness. Starring Hopsin, an up-and-coming underground rapper from the LA area, Skate Madness is an endless runner skateboarding experience where you must outrun monkeys that are chasing you through various locales, such as jungles and temple ruins. Is this rapper/skateboarder hybrid the next Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2? Or is Skate Madness a wipeout?

The white contact lens-wearing Hopsin is caught in an area where he's not supposed to be skateboarding in, and the skater-hating monkeys are chasing him down in full force. I'm not even making that up, that is the actual premise of Skate Madness. Hopsin must kick, push (yes, that's a Lupe reference), ollie, and grind around multiple obstacles and collect as many fruits as he can along the way. You must also try to avoid hitting obstacles, otherwise the monkeys will grab you. I understand that iOS stories tend to gravitate towards absurdity, but this one is pushing it. Nevertheless, will Skate Madness' gameplay makes up for its nonsensical story?

For an iOS title which features a rapper in its spotlight, I was expecting that I would actually hear some of Hopsin's music at some point throughout Skate Madness. But apparently, this was not the case. Madness' soundtrack consists of only a couple of generic hip hop instrumentals. And I have honestly no clue whether these instrumentals were even from Hopsin songs or not. If they wanted to promote the music of a featured artist alongside the iOS title, Gamechanger should have had a small blurb about the song somewhere on the screen whenever the track played. Better yet, they could have actually had a full Hopsin song playing on the main menu. Weighing in at only 26.6 MB, there was definitely enough room to feature a full song or two. Given Skate Madness' numerous advertisement pop-ups, you would think that there would be some sort of link or pop-up promoting the artist the title is featuring.

As for the rest of the sound, there are only few sound effects for the limited number of things Hopsin can do on the screen (ollie, speed up, switch lanes.. and that's all). For an iOS developer that is so intertwined with musical acts, the audio of Skate Madness is extremely lackluster. Factoring in the fact that Madness actually costs money to play and isn't a free download, I felt that the sound and music departments of this title owe the players (and its featured artist), a lot more.

Visually, Skate Madness is what you would expect of an iOS title, which is mainly simplistic, early PSX/Dreamcast-like graphics. The monkeys (are they supposed to represent police or skater-haters?) are decently animated, as are Hopsin's movements. But most of Madness' levels, fruit icons, effects and the actual Hopsin model itself are all very underwhelming in terms of graphics. Again, for a title that is not free to play, I consider the graphics and audio of Skate Madness a wipeout of Failblog proportions.

The controls of Skate Madness are just as basic as its overall visuals and sounds. There are three lanes Hopsin can skate in, and you simply swipe left or right to switch between them. You swipe down to duck under overhead trees and to pass under any other obstacles. An upwards swipe warrants an ollie & kick-flip combo (aka a jump), which you would use to jump over obstacles and reach higher skating platforms. You can occasionally double-tap the screen in order to activate a rocket-propelled skateboard which makes Hopsin skate at double speed, and that's about it in terms of controls.

There are also a few power-ups to be found in Skate Madness as well. There is a magnet which pulls all fruits towards you (because fruits are so metal), a score multiplier and a rocket which pulls you through the level and soars over all obstacles at breakneck speed. Unfortunately, the rocket also means that you're missing out on all the fruits to collect, so it's your call if you'd like to sacrifice gaining more of the rapper's precious fruit.

I must caution would-be-players as to the pop-ups that occur throughout Skate Madness. Again, for an iOS title that actually costs money, you would think that Madness would trim down the pop-up ads. But Skate Madness probably has the most pop-ups out of all iOS titles I have ever encountered. With most of these pop-ups linking to other Gamechanger titles and none linking to Hopsin's music, I felt thoroughly cheated out of the dollar I put into Skate Madness.

Looking at it in hindsight, Skate Madness should have been free-to-play; or it should have had more content and been a lot more polished. As a personal fan of underground hip hop, I went into Skate Madness already a fan of Hopsin's work. Unfortunately, I felt that his presence in Skate Madness was pointless and detrimental to his fans willing to pay the price. Skate Madness plays exactly how it looks: a mediocre endless runner with absolutely zero replay value. With purchasable in-game DLC and numerous pop-ups, I felt that my price of admission was unwarranted. I would only recommend Skate Madness to extreme fans of endless runners and skating. Since Hopsin's appearance is only superficial and relatively pointless, I suggest Hopsin fans spend that buck somewhere else more fitting to his music, like iTunes.


App Store Link: Skate Madness for iPhone & iPad | By Gamechanger World | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 26.6 MB | Rating 4+

3.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating