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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that playing Touchgrind BMX is sort of like controlling a remote control bike or having an out of body experience, if you imagine yourself riding the bike you're controlling and looking down on it from a third-person perspective. It only takes two fingers to control the motion, the direction, and the tricks. For some players, these finger motions will come almost immediately. For others, it might take a while to get it down by trial-and-error. Last resort, there's a good tutorial to fall back on. For kids who like course racing games this will be a lot of fun; for kids who are into BMX trick biking, this app will be like one of their best rides ever. That said, there's at least one level where the course is placed on top of a high rise building and the biker is doing tricks that are extraordinarily dangerous, were a kid ever trying them in real life. As a result, parents may want to mention the concept and consequences of "virtual" vs. reality when it comes to trick biking. Users can share high scores via Game Center, but participation is optional.
What's it about?
In Touchgrind BMX, players use two fingers to control the motion, direction, and tricks of the bike they're looking down on from above. One finger controls the direction of the bike, and the other controls the stability of the back. A tutorial option can help kids pick up the movement and tricks. As kids play, they complete challenges and earn medals, and they can record and replay their runs.
Is it any good?
The graphics and physics on TOUCHGRIND BMX are stunning and ingenious. It's a pleasure to play (as long as you figure out the way your fingers need to work to direct the bike) or watch. Kids who love to watch trick bike competitions on TV will especially like the ability to try out some of those moves, no safety gear, scrapes, or broken bones required. For younger kids, though, the finger motions -- even though it's just two fingers -- may require too much coordination to master.
A few small frustrations: At times, it appears that your bike should be able to choose a jump or a path that appears on the screen, but the game itself prevents players from choosing to diverge from the chosen path. And there's no place to practice, other than the tutorial. Also, you need a certain number of "adrenaline" points to unlock different courses, but players aren't allowed to preview what they are or practice what new skills they'll need to learn when they get there. As a result, one doesn't get any sort of idea about the structure of the upcoming levels (other than where they are on the globe) until its achieved, so it's hard to discern what is in these higher levels Overall, a beautiful game that will keep kids engaged time and again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Talk to your kid about the difference between "virtual" and "real" and the dangers that some of these cool tricks pose in real life.
Discuss how activities that fall under the broader category of basic physics affect everyday life -- such as driving a car, opening a door, or riding an elevator.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Science: gravity, momentum, motion
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, prediction
- Price: $4.99
- Release date: September 8, 2011
- Category: Sports Games
- Size: 75.80 MB
- Publisher: Illusion Labs
- Version: 1.4.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.0 or later
For kids who love sports and action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.