The most anticipated skating game so far this year rolls into the iTunes App Store with slick 3D graphics, a variety of kick butt skating venues, multitouch and accelerometer based controls, and layers upon layers of features including board, character, and hot rod customization. Mike V: Do or Die – Skateboarding, created by RatRod Studio Inc., comes equiped with 7 levels of hardcore skating action including Skate Park, Vert Ramp, Warehouse, and more, 40 different unique skating tricks that can vary based on skating style, and two different game modes: Career and Free Ride. Long story short, this game is packed with stuff.
Career Mode is the area where you’ll spend most of your time. In this mode you learn to skate, gain experience, and ultimately unlock new levels with new challenges. The more experience you gain the more you’ll be able to customize your character, equipment, and car (free ride mode). To skate you need to leverage all available functionality of the iPhone/iPod Touch. To push yourself along you swipe your finger from up to down on the screen continuously, and if you swipe your finger in the opposite direction you can slow yourself down. To change direction and twirl around you tilt your iPhone/iPod Touch from side-to-side. To perform tricks you use the skateboard on the right side of the screen. Depending on the trick it may require you to swipe your finger across the board in a particular direction or to tap and hold an area on the board. In the Options menu you’ll find a full list of instructions on how to perform tricks. The key to pulling of the best tricks is to be able to perform all controls concurrently and to time them perfectly. Each obstacle requires different techniques and timing. One things for sure, it takes quite a bit of practice to get the hang of the controls.
Free Ride mode is all about hooking up your ride, customizing your character and board, and cruising around town to find new places to get your skate on. In Free Ride you’re big pimpin in Mike Valley’s old school Trans Am. You can customize the paint, tint, and wheels. There are some standard options for you to choose from, but you can unlock more and more options as you gain experience while skating. Personally I found this game mode to be very awkward. For one the car is as agile as a cruise ship and slides uncontrollably from one side of the screen to the next. Secondly there is no speedometer so you have no clue how fast you’re going, which makes it hard to determine how much to downshift or slowdown. And lastly, the shifter and brake peddle setup lacks pizazz. Essentially, there’s a lot of room for improvement in this game mode.
Overall there are some really well done aspects of this game and others that leave much to be desired. When talking about graphics, options, souinds, and overall depth, Mike V: Do or Die – Skateboarding doesn’t dissapoint. It’s clear there was a lot of time and skill put into developing this game. The problem is that even though it’s jam packed with high quality stuff, it completely misses when it comes to usability. I found both game modes to be somewhat clunky when it comes to the controls, ultimately making the game less enjoyable. The controls lack responsiveness, and as a result I wasn’t able to get in a consistent rythm while performing tricks. One moment I was able to rock out a cool trick, and the next moment I’d try the same trick and my character wouldn’t do anything. Perhaps it’s because I’m not as skilled at the game as I need to be, but unfortunately, I feel like I won’t be alone in thinking this. I’d say in it’s current state this game is built more for skating purists, and to those individuals the game may totally rock. But from my perspective I feel like this game won’t appeal as well to the standard gamer. This game definitely has a lot of potential, but it’s missing a few things to really be a hit. Hopefully these issues will be addressed in future updates.
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Requirements: iPhone or iPod Touch; iPhone OS 3.0 or later
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