Endless runners, endless flyers, and (more recently) endless jumpers are endlessly flooding the app stores. Kongregate has joined the fray with Epic Skater, an addictive game that manages to surprisingly rise above the others.
Drop the books and pick up your board
At first glance, Epic Skater might appear to be just another quickly produced, money grabbing game. Upon playing it, it doesn't take long to see that it's something different.
Like other endless games, the point of Epic Skater is take your Bart Simpson-esque skater out of school and onto an endless journey skating across his town. Along the way you can do a variety of classic skateboard tricks and try to string them together. There's a few different things to play for: high score, distance, and goals. Sounds like nothing out of the ordinary, right?
Not so fast.
One of the main features that sets Epic Skater apart from its rivals, is the perfect balance it strikes of simple controls and a challenging difficulty; you feel like you have quite a bit of control of your skater and Epic Skater never seems too difficult or too easy. There's also something incredibly satisfying about stringing together a long and crazy combo of tricks for tens of thousands of points.
There isn't much in the way of customization of your character or board, but you can improve different categories such as ollie, spin, and manual by using gold coins that are connected throughout the level.
Like most freemium games, there are somewhat irritating ads and a push to make in-app purchases, but it's a fair trade-off for the exception gameplay.
Learn to roll before you skate
Controls are introduced through a well-executed progressive tutorial. Earlier in the game, you only have to worry about some simple motions: holding your finger down and releasing for an ollie, swiping up for a kickflip, and swiping down for an indy. As you earn more points, you'll unlock more moves.
The later tricks are tougher to pull off and usually involved swiping with two fingers or holding your finger down on the spin button, which is located on the left side of the screen. Ultimately, you'll find yourself spending most of the Epic Skater avoiding complicated moves and sticking to the basics with ollies and kickflips while connecting all your tricks together through moves such as the manual, which can be done easily by swiping forward.
Aside from the inconveniently located spin button, most of the moves are easy to pull off and the controls are simple, yet effective.
What you'd imagine a skateboard game to sound like
The look of the game is pleasing and doesn't distract you from gameplay. Backgrounds and streets are varied enough that you don't feel like you are playing the same level over and over. The graphics themselves are sharp and the colors pop off the screen; if you have a high resolution screen, you'll especially appreciate the graphics.
The soundtrack mostly consists of one rock song that is generic enough that it doesn't warrant enough attention to become repetitive. The rest of the sound effects are what you'd imagine: the sound of wheels rolling over pavement, the "ding" of rails that are being grinded on, and a sickening thud when you crash.
Skateboarding is not a crime and worth your time
Kongregate's venture into the world of endless skating is a surprisingly enjoyable game. The controls are incredibly well implemented and Epic Skater sets a standard in the time killer category.