True Skate (universal) by True Axis is a perfect game for anybody like myself, who grew up wishing they could master the art of skateboarding. With some awesome controls and physics, this game is all the fun and wonder of pulling off intricate flips and grinds, without the real-life consequences of trying to learn some of said tricks.
What I immediately noticed playing through the tutorial was the game’s obvious dedication to realism in the physics of a skateboard. Performing an ollie – jumping into the air – is done by pulling down on the back of the board, recreating the same concepts of shifting weight and momentum as one would with a real skateboard when trying to ollie. Whether it’s swiping a finger next to the board to build up speed, or pressing down on an area of the board to perform a specific grind, every movement feels authentic to the real experience.
There aren’t really any game ‘modes’ in True Skate, dropping players right into the action without the need for a main menu or title screen after opening the app. A pause button does reveal a few objectives for players to obtain, including a varied collection of missions to complete, as well as a complete listing of tricks completed thus far.
At times, the experience does feel a bit muted. There’s no in-game music, and outside of a scoring system for tricks (which isn’t tallied, except during missions), there aren’t a lot of traditional gameplay elements to be found. I enjoy the free-spirited nature of the game’s design – implementing features like rewind and replay at any time, without any sort of penalty to the player – but the absence of some more objectives and modes would be nice.
For example, having a multiplayer turn-based Tournament mode would be a terrific way to inspire competition and creativity in the game community, especially with the ability to save and upload replays, where something like H-O-R-S-E could be introduced in asynchronous fashion. And while the game’s skate park is detailed and looks fantastic, it’s the only place to skate in the game, which can leave players looking for a little more variety in design.
It might be a little thin around the edges, but True Skate will keep players engaged with the beautiful physics, and the inherent difficulty of pulling off a perfect trick in-game: I’ve never played a game, console or handheld, that recreated the feeling of its real-life counterpoint as well as True Skate does. A perfect game for any skateboarding enthusiast or fan, whether skilled at pulling of hard flips and 5-0 grinds, or uncoordinated in the art of carving concrete.