Skate City Review: Kick, Flip, and Relax (PS4)

Skate City came to consoles last year, following it's success on the Apple Arcade. There is a soothing atmosphere in Skate City, with various real-world locations recreated in the unique art-style for you to skate. The controls are easy to pick-up too, making the game friendly to both skaters and non-skaters alike.

Skate City Review PS4

Skate City is an underrated arcade-style skateboarding game with a beautiful aesthetic and soundtrack. It’s controls are friendly for non-skaters, while being moreish without (much) frustration. Whether you want to spam the controller for random tricks or capture precise lines with the simple filming option, Skate City is a relaxed but imaginative entry to the virtual skate world. 

Skate City is available on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Epic, Steam and can also be found on Apple Arcade, for $14.99 (£12.99 GBP).

Skate City - Now available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, Steam and The Epic Games Store!

Story- Endless Skate

Skate City has the freedom of being able to chose the “Endless Skate” option. No time limits or mandatory objectives, just flipping and spinning throughout the real-world locations. There are three locations, the latter two which you unlock through ‘skate credits’ earned. There are numerous ways to earn skate credits, and they allow you to purchase customisation items in the shop. 

Skate credits can be used in the very well organised skate shop.

Skate credits can be used in the very well organised skate shop.

Each of the three cities have their own set of goals which can be completed in the “Endless Skate” option. These consist of accumulated manual/grind distances, or performing specific tricks at different times of day. Each city then has it’s own challenge selection. These are more precise, with some asking you to perform tricks in a given order, sometimes giving the feeling of a skate rhythm game. Others offer fun in-game police chases. 

Gameplay- Kick, Push, Repeat 

Pressing X starts your skater pushing, and you are able to reset your waypoint/beginning spot in Endless Mode. As you skate through the brightly coloured cities, citizens appear, though none of them will get in your way. Instead, they will turn their heads in your direction as you pop your board past them. Some will even reward you with a round of applause on making a successful land. In a nice element of realism, it seems less people appear at night, too. 

Similar to most skateboarding games, Skate City relies on use of the analog sticks. While there is a root of realism, these motions aren’t extremely difficult to master. The on-screen prompts are simple but effective. When pressure is applied to an analog stick, a small circle appears at the bottom of the screen. This circle registers which direction the thumbstick is pulled, and tells you which trick is going to be performed on release. This is a good way of communicating controls without use of lengthy tutorials.

The manual and grind system is different and works well with the game's style.

The manual and grind system is different and works well with the game’s style.

A mechanic which stood out for me is the manual controls. Before all four wheels touch the ground following a trick, pressing either L2 or R2 enters your skater into a manual. You then have to balance the manual meter by alternating between the triggers. If you apply too much pressure you will bail. This control system is used similarly when entering grinds. However, analog-stick inputs will change the direction of the grind, which means there is a simple way of alternating the grind you enter. 

Graphics and Audio- Soothing Tones

Graphics

The aesthetic in Skate City is beautiful. Real-world locations have been recreated in the arcade side-scrolling style. The idea here isn’t to have intense detail on every bump in the road, but to be easy on the eye. The simple design is not lacking in detail however; the pavements have texture and graffiti art is dotted around the cities, and if you skate for long enough the day will turn to night. The weather also changes from sunny to rain randomly, although this doesn’t affect gameplay. 

Skate City has a clever filming mechanic. After filming your line, you can send your video to sponsors.

Skate City has a clever filming mechanic. After filming your line, you can send your video to sponsors.

Skate City hosts a clever and simple filming mechanic. Through selecting record using the D-Pad, your line will be filmed, then giving you the option to sell to sponsors. Unlike other skate games, I couldn’t find a replay button, so if you want to film, you have to have your line in mind. The features in the filming mode stay within the games tone- simple yet effective. You can slow-mo the current trick being performed, use the zoom feature and by pressing triangle you can experiment with the camera’s fisheye.

Audio

The overall relaxing pastel-tones are accompanied by a soothing beat which plays in the background throughout Endless Mode, and makes it easy to zone out while doing bigspins over bins. I would have liked an option to have more dominant skate sounds, although they can be amplified by turning down the music in the game’s settings. There are nice sound effects added throughout. One of my favourites being the splash of water, making it even more amusing when your skater lands head first into a fountain.

Skate City was reviewed on PS4.

Summary
Skate City is a relaxed arcade-styled skateboarding game, with beautiful aesthetics and soothing soundtrack. The controls are easy to pick up, yet difficult to master, with it being friendly to skaters and gamers. There are nice elements of detail which could've been forgotten but really add to the game, such as the filming option. With an option to kickback and relax or to grind out a few challenges, Skate City is an underrated entry into the skate genre.
Good
  • Easy to pick-up controls.
  • Beautiful and consistent aesthetic.
  • Replayability factor with endless skate and challenges.
  • Relaxing atmosphere.
Bad
  • Could do with more customisation/gear options.
8
Great

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