Lo-Fi Beats To Skate And Chill To 

HIGH Tight controls and an elegant visual style.

LOW Trying to impress those damn sponsors. 

WTF EA, please give me some info on Skate 4. Please. I’m begging you. 

I miss skating games. They aren’t as common as they used to be (though I did name one a favorite of 2020) but like most genres I love, AAA studios are slacking on this specific output. With Activision seemingly disinterested in making more Tony Hawk and EA taking their time with a new Skate, it’s up to indies to fill the void left by the big players. Skate City by developer Agens Games does a great job of bringing this fairly dormant genre back with some unique twists. 

Played on a 2D plane, players control a custom skater across different locales around the world. Lo-fi instrumental hip-hop serves as the score for the experience, with a minimalistic 2.5D aesthetic making up the visual presentation. Character designs are simple, with plenty of clothing options present in the customization menu.  

Something I noticed almost immediately is that Skate City seems to understand the makeshift, improvised nature of skateboarding. The game implores players to use the environment to perform tricks like grinding on rails, jumping on a wood board propped up to serve as a ramp, or just performing a manual on a sidewalk. It’s perfect.

Pulling those moves off is just as good. Similar to Skate, players use the left and right stick to perform tricks. A flick of one of the sticks causes the player to perform tricks like ollies, heelflips, nollies and others. Extensive tutorials and unlockable special moves allow players to really flex. 

Most of the gameplay revolves around completing challenges in each locale. These range from trying to reach a certain set of scores to landing certain tricks. There’s also a capture mode that lets players record their sessions and sell the video to sponsors, which is then graded by stars. Trying to complete all the challenges listed has become an addiction of mine, with most of my playtime devoted to trying to nail some of the harder stuff. Doing so will net points used as currency for buying clothing, special tricks and unlocking new locales.

While I ultimately enjoyed the controls, the unconventional stick-based-in-2D might take some getting used to, so I sympathize with those who might struggle at first. Owing to the game’s origin as an Apple Arcade title, the Nintendo Switch version allows players to utilize the console’s touch screen to perform tricks with virtual control sticks, which I appreciated. 

Skate City succeeds most in getting me into the zone and chilling while playing. Hours go by in a blink while playing this one, and the tight controls, lo-fi aesthetic and addictive nature make it one of the genre’s best in a long time. 

Rating: 8 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is published by Snowman and developed by Agens and Room 8. It is currently available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, XONE, PC, and iOS. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS4. Approximately 15  hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed (still playing). 1 hour was spent on the game’s original iOS release. There is no multiplayer. 

Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated E for Everyone. There is no objectionable content here at all. It’s just skating. 

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: There are visual cues and tutorials that pop up, with no audio needed to enjoy the game. While none of these tutorials or subtitles can be adjusted, I’d say it’s fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, the controls are not remappable and there is no control diagram but there are menus that show players how all the tricks are performed with the sticks. 

Cj Salcedo
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