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FreeSkate Xtreme Review

By Dave Flodine, on November 20, 2012


Free Skate Xtreme
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • The visuals are reminiscent of Jet Set Radio.
  • The animations of your skater flipping through the air are impressive.

CONS

  • The head tracking used for the grinding sections is completely broken.
  • For a game about extreme skating, it moves along at rather a leisurely, almost boring pace.

VERDICT

Aside from decent visuals, there's not much here to recommend.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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The tag line for Freeskate Xtreme on the App Store touts a "Kinect-like experience on ios devices". That's partially true. This is an inline skating game wrapped in cel shaded visuals meant to evoke memories of Jet Set Radio, which is a much better inline skating game. It's not to be unkind, but the biggest selling point here, the Kinect-like experience (which utilizes the iPhone's head tracking software), is what brings the game from an average yet somewhat enjoyable experience crashing down to nearly unplayable.

But we'll get to the head tracking soon enough. The majority of the game is played by tilting your iPhone left and right to dodge the traffic cones, boxes, and incoming traffic, all the while collecting coins for use in the shop. Depending on which option you choose, jumping is either accomplished by tapping the screen or flicking your iPhone up or down. We recommend the tapping, as it's less prone to error, and allows you greater manoeuvrability, especially when the obstacles start to over whelm you. Now the grinding is where the head tracking comes in. Oh the grinding. It's amazing that in a game like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, grinding can be one of the highlights, but here, due to the complete failure of the control input, become something to fear and avoid.

See when landing on a rail, the game slows to bullet time, and your face appears in the corner, as the game has switched on the phone's head tracking software. You need to move your head left or right to have your skater lean left or right collecting coins, but most importantly, dodging incoming rockets (apparently the city fires ballistic missiles to keep skating out of the public eye). This head tracking just doesn't work. Moving your head too slow, and it barely recognizes any change, move too fast, and it's too quick to notice any change. There's obviously a sweet spot, but after multiple tries, it was unable to be found.

The game looks great, as it uses the cel-shaded style to positive effect, and the animations, specifically when you're jumping and dodging do a lot to immerse the player. Like most games, the cost of shop upgrades are pretty steep to persuade the player to go the in-app purchase route, and leveling up via completing missions is certainly present as it is in most games these days.

If the head tracking worked well, it would still be a gimmick tacked on to a decent but not extraordinary endless skating experience, but it would have been received a lot more positively. As it stands, it sort of brings down the rest of the game, and leaves an unpleasant impression. Perhaps that's just the failure of our review experience, and others will find the grinding engaging and enjoyable.... but we're of course talking about grinding on rails, and not all the playing you'll have to do to collect enough coins to upgrade your character in the store.

Screenshots

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