Vans SK8: Pool Service
Skateboarding comes to iPhone in this limited but fun sports game.
Let the iPhone skateboarding revolution begin. Vans SK8: Pool Service probably won't dethrone Tony Hawk's Pro Skater or EA's Skate series anytime soon, but it's a good first effort for what could potentially be a big hit franchise for the folks at Fuel Industries.
In the game, you choose from two different pro skateboarders, Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan.Then you hit the pool and perform a number of tricks, using the touch screen to execute moves. There's a full list of tricks available, along with a Training mode where you can practice them.
For the most part, the touch screen controls work great. You'll have no problem linking moves (like the Airwalk) and grinds together to perform combos to boost your score. The motion controls, however, need work. You use these to direct your boarder around the pool and they aren't entirely accurate.
Only two modes are available at the start of the game, Timed Run and Training. As you progress, you'll unlock additional modes. These include a grind-specific challenge called The Grind, a spin-happy mode called Spin 2 Win, a trick-specific S.K.A.T.E. mode and six others. There are also a number of skateboarding decks available, letting you choose boards to play with in the game.
Fuel Industries has done a bang-up job with Van SK8's presentation. The graphics look amazing for an iPhone game, with a well-designed backyard environment, detailed skateboarder animations and a camera that allows you to watch your boarder at all times. The soundtrack is all right, featuring a plethora of alternative rock tunes . The sound effects are good, too, with authentic skateboarding noises and voice-overs by the riders.
The only real drawback to Vans SK8 is the lack terrain. The initial release offers the one backdrop to skate around in, the backyard setting with the pool smack-dab in the middle of it. There's no skating park or city environment, and we hope that Fuel adds some downloadable content ASAP.
Overall, Vans SK8: Pool Service is a fun (and cheap) skateboarding romp. With some DLC and improved motion controls, this could become one of best extreme sports games ever made.
What's Hot: Terrific trick-based control system, a number of fun modes available, great presentation, very easy to get into.
What's Not: Only one environment and pool, motion controls aren't as responsive as they need to be, only two boarders.