A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Play encourages and rewards practice and precision. This game could lead players to take a greater interest in skateboarding and physical activity.
Positive Role Models
The player's skater -- whose gender and skin color can be customized -- seems to enjoy and take pride in skating. They don't bother people walking in the city around them, but are instead focused on mastering their sport.
Ease of Play
The controls are simple to understand, but mastering them takes time. There isn't really a way to lose, and players aren't punished for failing to achieve objectives.
Violence & Scariness
The player's skater frequently wipes out in what look to be painful ways -- such as landing on his face -- but they are never bloodied or seriously injured.
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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.
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.
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.