Skateboards and bananas don't mix.
These days, it seems like you can't build an iPhone portfolio without having a video game starring a dude that can't stop running. Canabalt hit the App Store, almost everyone loved it and competitors immediately went to work pumping out clones. That said, today's "dude that can't stop running" game is X Sk8ter, a retro flavored romp with a wallet friendly price.
To be fair, the developer tried to be somewhat original by throwing the main character onto a skateboard, but the basic rules remain the same. It's your job to keep this guy moving by jumping over obstacles and clearing gaps. Push ahead, and the distance traveled continues to increase. Fall off a ledge, and you restart from the beginning.
That's essentially the gist of it. The only curveballs come in the form of cars, pedestrians and banana peels, where hitting these things slow you down. At the same time, the creators placed floating bananas throughout the game, and jumping into them propels the skater roughly one hundred feet. Not sure how bananas fit into the skating culture, but we'll let that slide.
What bothers us, though, is the lack of tricks. Just about every skating game incorporates crazy moves in some fashion, except here. Instead, you simply jump over stuff.
This notwithstanding, the game offers a couple hours of addictive fun, largely because of the NES style presentation that is a combination of 8-bit graphics and audio. Of course, we didn't download X Sk8ter because it reminds us of the 80s. We did so because it's free. That, combined with the familiar yet still enjoyable concept makes it worth your time.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
What's Hot: Familiar concept, user friendly controls, 8-bit presentation, Twitter integration, free, universal.
What's Not: No tricks or online leaderboard.