A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn practical lessons in physics, such as how momentum and motion work, in an intensely fun way while ghost-trick-biking a BMX bike through obstacle courses high atop buildings, mountains, and other spectacular courses. Given how fun and "sticky" Touchgrind BMX is, simply by the repetition of playing often and trying different movements and speeds, kids can learn about larger physics concepts naturally via trial and error. Embedded in the fun of Touchgrind BMX is a memorable glimpse at how matter and energy interact.
Ease of Play
Ease of use varies widely, depending upon how easily a player gets the hang of the multi-touch controls. Some players may grasp the motions almost immediately, while others just won't get it. One finger controls the direction of the bike, and the other controls the stability of the back. There is a good tutorial option players can watch to more quickly pick up the movement and tricks.
Products & Purchases
The Illusion Labs logo appears on the main screen when players open the app, and there's an "Our Games" tab to select on the main screen that shows players other apps from this developer. Click on any of those and it moves players to the App Store.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.