A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Skate City is a two-dimensional skateboarding game that allows players to perform tricks while skating left to right through lightly populated public spaces in familiar cities. The player's skater -- whose gender, skin color, and appearance can be customized -- doesn't seem to bother the people around them. They are focused on practicing and mastering common tricks such as ollies and grinds. They fall frequently, but are never bloodied or permanently injured. Players may find this game rouses an interest in skateboarding and physical activity.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SKATE CITY is a side-scrolling skateboarding game set in public spaces within familiar cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Oslo, and Barcelona. Players tap one side of the screen to increase speed and swipe in various directions on the other side to perform tricks, such as ollies. You can also grind on certain objects, tapping either side of the screen to maintain balance. A traditional gamepad controller can be used instead of the touch screen to enable more precise control. Play is broken into free skating -- a relaxing mode that lets players skate endlessly, practicing their tricks -- and challenges, a series of objectives that encourage players to perform a series of specific tricks. Players earn currency as they progress that can be spent on a range of upgrades, including base skills such as speed and balance, unique tricks, and personalization options for your skater, such as shirts, boards, and hats.
Is it any good?
The skating mechanics are solid, and that's enough to make you keep skating over and over again. Skate City isn't looking to emulate the iconic Tony Hawk games with a three-dimensional open world designed to facilitate extreme stunts. Instead, it wants to provide a different kind of skateboarding experience, one with its own aesthetic and vibe, and it largely succeeds. Its artsy visual style -- muted colors and an almost hand-drawn look -- ought to appeal to the skater crowd, as will the simple but authentic clothes, hairstyles, and boards with which you can equip your skaters. The tricks are similarly faithful to the sport, the sort you'd see performed by talented amateurs at your local skate park, and are all the more gratifying because they're so real. This is a game meant to appeal to people who enjoy and appreciate the subtle beauty of skateboarding rather than non-skateboarders looking for outrageous stunts.
That said, there's a little room for improvement. Music is important to skaters, and the soundtrack is sadly bland and forgettable. And while the touch controls are blissfully simple and easy to understand, it's hard to achieve a mastery level of precision on a touch screen. It's better played with a controller, but most people are unlikely to have one handy while out and about, which is where they're most likely to play a game like this. These are far from deal-breaking issues, though. Skate City is perhaps the most Zen-like skating game currently available for mobile devices, and just the sort of experience that ought to satisfy people who love skating in the real world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Skate City's challenges are generally very short, so how long do you need to play Skate City to feel satisfied?
When you play games featuring real world sports, do you feel like trying the sport yourself? What motivates you to be physically active?
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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.