Seller: Illusion Labs
Requirements: iPhone OS 3.2 or later
File Size: 9.1MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Age Rating: 4+
Touchgrind has always been one of my favorite games for iPhone because of its wonderful use of multitouch. The only problem with the game was that the screen area of an iPhone is a bit small to really see where you are going while two of your fingers and a mini skateboard take up most of the screen. Wouldn’t it be great if this game could be played on a larger device? Oh yeah, thanks to Apple, you can do that now with iPad and Touchgrind HD from Illusion Labs.
Let me explain this game a little before I get into the details. Touchgrind is a simulation of a miniature skateboard toy. This activity is often referred to as fingerboarding. You can do nearly all of the same tricks on a fingerboard as a real skateboard, but won’t wake up tomorrow with a broken arm or a sprained ankle. You can still do kickflips, 5-0s and impossibles, just a whole lot easier than in real life. Honestly, this kind of gameplay is exactly what thrives on a multitouch based control system, i.e. iDevices. This is so much better than Skate with its “realistic” controls with a PS3 controller, and much more practical than Tony Hawk’s Ride.
Touchgrind started out as an iPhone “game,” but it was really more of a proof of concept because of screen size limitations. Sure, there’s plenty of fun to be had, but you have to almost imagine the entire skatepark that your fingerboard lives in since you can’t really see it while “skating.” There are icons to alert you when an obstacle for you to trick off of is approaching, but it’s clearly not perfect. The iPad’s much larger screen fixes this and makes Touchgrind HD not only a real game, but a really fun one. The icons representing the obstacles (rails, jumps, etc.) are still there, but you can see the obstacle before you have to react to it, unlike on the iPhone.
The game modes haven’t changed from Touchgrind for iPhone. You’ll probably want to start out in the Warm Up mode. This mode allows you to practice tricks without saving scores and without limiting your time. It also gives you a much restricted skatepark with few obstacles and more open space to practice nailing tricks or try new ones. Jam Session is where you can bust your best trick. The only thing that really differentiates this mode from Warm Up mode is that each individual trick combo is scored. Then there is Competition mode, which scores an entire two minute run. You’ll have to be good to place anywhere near the top of the online leader board though. Ridiculously good. I’m at around 500,000 or so. Even if you can’t place high online, you can unlock new fingerboards, which are progressively better. You can read what they each do for you in the FAQ, but Illusion Labs told me that they might patch better descriptions into the game itself.
While that was mostly the same from the iPhone version, Touchgrind HD adds multiplayer. This splits the screen so that two people can skate at the same time within different frames of view. Obviously, this limits the screen space that each frame gets again, but it’s still much better than on the iPhone. I’d much rather just have two people have their own iPad and the game and link together wirelessly to skate in the same skatepark. If this feature could work between iPad and iPhone version, that would be ideal.
Speaking of skateparks, I would like to see a few more things in Touchgrind HD, at least in a future version (please, please, please make Touchgrind HD 2). First and most importantly, more levels. The default levels are all basically the same skatepark, and while this is enough to get your tricks done, this expanded screen makes me want more! I’d love to skate in a parking lot, downtown, on a tabletop, at a school, in a mall…you get my drift. I’d also really like to see an in-game level editor. Illusion Labs is known for their Labyrinth games, which have level editors, so I have a feeling they might be toying with this idea already.
Concerning multiplayer, I’d really like for the game to be able to identify tricks and combos and display this as text on screen. That way, you could play SKATE (the equivalent of HORSE for skateboarding). More modes would be fun as well. But again, what I’m really asking for here is Touchgrind HD 2. Please? All I can say is that this game and its possibilities excite me. I do wonder why the HD version of this game isn’t universal though. The iPhone game is really more of a proof of concept because of screen size limitations, so I don’t think it would hurt too much to not allow users who have both an iPad and an iPhone to buy the HD game and get the iPhone version for free. This also plays into my wireless multiplayer idea.
If you have ever owned a Tech Deck or other fingerboard and enjoyed it, or even if you just like skateboarding games, Touchgrind HD is the best skateboarding game available, in my opinion. Not just on the App Store; it’s the best, period. I know that’s a bold statement, but the Tony Hawk franchise has dulled over the years and become boring, and Skate has done the same. This is about as real as it gets while still being fun, unless you liked Tony Hawk Ride. And if you did, then I don’t suppose you’re the type of person that agrees with reviews anyhow.
Touchgrind HD really showcases what can be done with multitouch controls. It’s a great game that will keep you coming back for more.
Buy Touchgrind HD