A gnarled and endlessly charming version of a classic sports game

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Skateboarding is one of those sports where art and culture have always fascinated me, but I’ve never had the opportunity to really explore it. My accident prone car isn’t about to go to the skate park and try it out in real life, and I’ve completely missed the boat on games like the Tony Hawk’s professional skater franchise upon release. This made the very idea of Skater unbelievably delicious to me, as it mixes the mechanics of skate culture with adorable neon-hued animal graphics – and luckily the game itself turned out just as awesome. Although rough around the edges in a few places, SkateBIRD is an endlessly adorable and surprisingly complex addition to the world of skateboarding games that will appeal to players of all ages and skill levels.

SkateBIRD, hereinafter referred to simply as Skater, allows players to enter the world of little birds, which are the pets of an unnamed and absent human owner who is busy at his new job. Once players customize their own avian avatars, they take to skateboarding in an attempt to improve human life, either by completing menial tasks or simply rekindling their love for skateboarding. The game takes players through an array of settings, starting with a giant skate park made of household items in the human’s room.

(Photo: Glass bottom games)

While this narrative adds a necessary and endearing driving force to the game’s activities, something the developers at Glass Bottom Games seemed to recognize, as the story mode wasn’t first announced until May of last year when the announcement of the global game would be delayed. The quests are accompanied by cut scenes involving various other birds in ridiculous props, along with adorably written dialogue that is sure to be memorized once the game is widely released. At the same time, players have the option to browse Skater at their own pace, and skip or abandon a quest without any kind of penalty.

This flexibility comes in handy as you dive deeper into the game, as some quests require knowledge or tips that might not reveal themselves until you complete a quest on the other side of the game. a course. At one point I spent a good 30 minutes trying to get a collectible that I couldn’t physically access without learning some skating movement, but it never really felt like a amount of time. frustrating or lost because I was improving in other areas. moves in the process. Players have the opportunity to skate aimlessly on a course and further develop their skating skills for as long as they want – but at some point the tale will become too adorable and fun to be completely ignored.

The real mechanics of Skater certainly have a bit of a learning curve, but it’s a curve that ends up being satisfying to overcome. New moves are offered to players without ever being overwhelming, and the novelty of tying them to certain tasks in the bird-sized world (like washing a stain on the floor or cleaning take-out cups) never gets old all. did. However, as the game progresses, the limited mechanics can unintentionally create frustration – a quest has repeatedly caused me to fall into a small crevice between the human’s toaster and microwave. , and I can’t get out of it unless I restart the entire challenge. Moving from one point to another on the course can also get tedious at times, especially if you have a specific goal in mind or if the clock or a particular quest is ticking. There is a version of Skater This could hypothetically benefit from some sort of course map or list of potential tasks on the HUD – but, again, the experience of exploring the game outweighs that frustration. The only really frustrating aspect of the game, at least in its default setting, is the erratic switches in the camera’s POV, but that ended up being fixable with a few tweaks in the settings.

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(Photo: Glass bottom games)

One of the strongest elements of Skater is its colorful, cartoonish aesthetic, something that is rendered in an immersive way without ever becoming pretentious or overdone. There is a pleasure to discover and explore the bird-sized worlds of each course, and the imaginative ways in which office supplies and fast food containers can work in the context of the game. of characters is surprisingly sturdy and endearing, offering both an array of real birds and silly hats and accessories. Another strong point of SkaterThe world of is its lo-fi soundtrack, which makes some weirdly inspired choices, and even works in audio from vintage bird news.

Skater is the kind of game the world can never get enough of – complex yet accessible gameplay, unique gadgets, and a clear sense of style. While there are a few glitches that need to be fixed or settings that can be changed, they are more than made up for by the shameless and enjoyable experience of playing the game. Skater is the perfect low stakes, high reward game to dive into right now, and hopefully other players will soon agree.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Skater is scheduled to be released by Glass Bottom Games on September 16 for Mac, PC, Linux, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. A game code has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review and it has been reviewed on Xbox One.


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