Touchgrind Skate 2 Review
Have you always wanted to skateboard, but lack the balance, equipment, and/or manual dexterity? Well, with Illusion Labs' Touchgrind Skate 2, your dreams of becoming a master skater can become a reality! All you need is a couple of dollars, an iOS device, and, most importantly, two fingers.
This two-fingered Tony Hawk-esque experience sees players in control of a disembodied skateboard whose only desire in life is to pull off as many sicknasty skate tricks as possible. Using your two fingers as faux-feet, you'll complete numerous tutorials and slowly expand your digital skill set, learning how to grind, Ollie, Pop Shove-it, and 360 Farmer Werewolf Bagelgrab. After completing these tutorials, however, you'll find that there's just not a heck of a lot to do in Touchgrind Skate 2. The selection of play arenas is quite small, as are the game modes, and though there are a handful of unlockable skins offered as prizes, there just isn't quite enough to keep most gamers playing for session after session.
Though some gamers need shinies like unlockable skins, others, however, don't need such petty distractions to keep playing; they'll continue powering through in the hopes of mastering Touchgrind Skate 2's unique and complex control scheme. Trying to make a skateboarding game using touch screen controls was a bold move, but Illusion Labs had such success with the first go-round that they refined the experience with this sequel. In truth, the controls are surprisingly good. They're not, however, perfect. There will be plenty of times where it seems like your skateboard has a mind of its own, and that mind is determined to do what it wants when it wants to, and to hell with your high score. A traditional controller (or virtual button) set-up probably would alleviate some of these issues, but that would also detract from much of what makes Touchgrind Skate 2 unique.
Illusion labs promises to expand Touchgrind Skate 2 with additional levels, challenges, and an assortment of other goodies, but as of right now things are limited to roughly three levels; though each of these stages are well laid out and offer a variety of different skating experiences, they do grow stale eventually, as they tend to not be very large. Customizing your skateboard is kind of fun, but it, too, is fleeting. Customizing the wheels on a skateboard feels rather pointless given how small and easy to ignore they are.
Touchgrind Skate 2 goes bold with a unique approach to skateboarding games, and that's something to be applauded for. If you can get past the occasionally finicky controls and lack of things to do, and if you're really into just wheeling around and mastering this two-fingered skate system, you may find that Touchgrind Skate 2 shreds gnarlier than most; other gamers, however, will probably find more fun digging back through the huge library of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater titles.