You can't throw a rock without hitting an endless runner nowadays. Endless gameplay works well on mobile. But once a genre gets crowded, new games need something to set them apart from the Temple Runs and Jetpack Joyrides that have come before them. SuperVillain Studios has found a way to do just that with its new release: TransWorld Endless Skater for Android and iOS.
TransWorld Endless Skater is a slick and challenging free to play skateboarding game featuring real world skaters and licensed music from indie label No Sleep Records. Players will skate and grind across sprawling 3D environments, completing missions and earning money to unlock new skaters and moves. Endless Skater has a learning curve as you master the controls and tricks at your disposal, but skateboarding fans are going to love it.
Players start out as Eddie Genericson, a fictional skater. Like all of the characters in the game, his stats can be upgraded with coins earned through gameplay. But Eddie's not a real dude so his stat limits are lower than those of the pros. You'll want to skate a bunch in order to get the coinage needed to unlock the five licensed skaters:
- Danny Way
- Sean Malto
- Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins- Pastrana (Yes, that is her name. But hey, a female skater!)
- Christian Hosoi
- Ryan Decenzo
Each character has a bunch of unlockable tricks such as different types of ollies and grinds, though of course each one costs a bit of scratch to unlock. It's too bad the skaters don't have multiple outfits to choose from.
Every skater also has ten levels of optional missions to work through: making certain types of combos, reaching grinding milestones, jumping over a set number of gaps, etc. Completing all three of a level's missions will get you some premium currency and sometimes an unlockable TransWorld Skateboarding magazine cover. Completionists will have lots to do between all six characters' missions.
Skate or die
TransWorld Endless Skater is an "endless" game, but each session doesn't end when a skater wipes out or falls in a hole. Instead, a timer constantly ticks down as you play. Reach the target score displayed at the top of the screen and you get more time to play. That way, you're always racing to perform tricks and combos instead of just trying to stay on your board.
The touch screen controls here are more complex than those of other endless running-style games. Basically, there are four touch zones: two on the left and two on the right. Tapping and holding in either of the right zones will make your skater jump and perform a different kind of trick. So far so good. Tilting the device while in the air will do a spin, but they're tough to land and who wants to tilt anyway?
On the left, the bottom zone controls your skater's movement between lanes. Swipe there to move between the level's three lanes or pathways. You'll need to switch lanes often in order to avoid obstacles, collect money or boosts, and find objects to grind on or jump from.
Swiping in the top-left zone (the upper zones are actually in the middle of the screen, not at the top corner) will initiate a grind after you jump in the air. Grinding is really fun and rewarding, once you find a rail or similar object and successfully attach to it.
Still, I often find myself mixing up the two touch zones on the left. I'm hard-wired to use the left side of the screen entirely for movement, so that grinding zone throws me off like crazy. The game should offer a control scheme in which the whole left side of the screen switches lanes, and three smaller zones or virtual buttons on the right perform the other functions.
After a few runs, most players will get the hang of the control zones and the different moves you can perform. But if touch controls aren't your thing, TransWorld Endless Skater also offers physical controller support! On Android, you can use any MOGA controller. And iOS 7 users can give their MOGA Ace controllers a workout as well.
Fun and fair
This game has two forms of currency: creds (soft) and bucks (premium). You'll mostly earns creds as you play, but you can find bucks during runs or get them by completing missions. It will take a lot of creds and/or bucks to unlock all of the skaters and their moves, which means a lot of grinding. But players can buy a permanent cred trippler for $4, disable ads for $2, or get both for $5. Not a bad deal if you dig some endless skating.
TransWorld Endless Skater is a fast-paced, stylish game with a catchy soundtrack. I'm not normally a big skating fan but the speed and presentation really won me over on this one. SuperVillain Studios just needs to add a simplified control scheme so that casual gamers can learn the game faster. If they do that, this will be the mobile skating game to beat.