Touchgrind BMX Review

By , on May 26, 2011

Touchgrind BMX
Download on the AppStore
5 out of 5


  • Intuitive two-finger control system; easy to learn while providing complexity for later challenges.
  • Insane levels in varied locations around the world.
  • Smooth, detailed 3D visuals; Retina support and video rendering for replays.
  • Bikes and paint-jobs regularly unlock; provides a constant sense of achievement.


  • Oddly missing Game Center support.
  • Quirky swipe detection.
  • Odd physics glitches (falling through the ground; bouncing off flat ground).


Touchgrind BMX is the perfect storm of gameplay, visuals and features that make those without an iDevice green with envy; whether you play it for casual fun or try to conquer its hardcore challenges, you're guaranteed to spend a lot of time with this game.

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Touchgrind BMX by Illusion Labs is the sort of game that builds fans; not just the regular kind that love the game, but the kind that's willing to give a game a shot because it's made by 'that' company. BMX has come a long way since the 2008 finger-flipping skateboard game from the early days of the App Store and anyone who has spent time enjoying games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater are likely to lose themselves for days on this high-scoring title.

After watching three brief in-game tutorials you're promptly dumped in a concrete wonderland of ramps, pipes and ledges with the express aim of messing around, scoring points and getting to the end. Getting used to the 2-finger control system doesn't take a lot of time as the top finger steers the bike while the rear provides power, making it a snap to get around. Where things start to get tricky is in learning the system of swipes that manipulate your bike (and your rider) in a variety of impossible ways. Swiping the rear of the bike will kick out the tail, while swiping the top will rotate the handles, but swiping with both fingers together or in alternate directions will flip the entire bike, allowing you to pull off insane combinations.

The pressure to learn unique and complex maneuvers is ratcheted up slowly, providing higher goals in line with the increasingly insane locations you'll get to ride in. Although players are effectively gated in to a linear path, each level is a veritable playground, with some levels including alternate paths for those after more of a challenge. Additional stages, new bikes and paint-jobs are unlocked by earning 'adrenaline' points tied to level-specific goals that range from the usual 'get x points' to performing specific tricks and exploring some of the quirkier areas of a stage. At first it may seem overwhelming, but sticking to the easier goals will give you the practice you need to come back and conquer earlier levels with ease.

The game isn't without its quirks and while its intuitive control system does its job admirably, pulling off body flips and spins can be a bit of a chore as the game detects the wrong direction, speed or ignores the gesture entirely if you're marginally off the mark. Some levels also feature frustrating design bugs that result in the player being forced off the path they want to go on unless they hard-lock the wheel and random teleportations can occur even when a jump looks like it will end in a perfect landing.

Despite this, Touchgrind BMX should become a part of just about anyone's collection of games on their iDevice. The gorgeous aesthetics, challenging gameplay and amazing additional features (including replay saving with YouTube video uploads) make this one of the most complete packages you'll find on the App Store; a clear must have title.


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