Review – Skate City

Had Skate City been released on consoles just a mere year ago, I am pretty sure this game would have been considered a savior of the skateboarding genre. By then, we wouldn’t have had news about the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise making a comeback. We wouldn’t have known about Skater XL, a mediocre yet still occasionally interesting spiritual successor to the Skate franchise. Hell, we wouldn’t have known about the fact that Skate was making a comeback! So, in a time we’re not actually craving for skateboarding games as much as we once did, given the steady supply of titles and positive perspective for the future, can this game hold its own?

Skate City Nollie Hardflip

This game needs more ska.

Skate City reminds me a lot of the OlliOlli franchise, considering its 2D, borderline side-scrolling approach. It’s an endless runner, as you’ll constantly move to your right (as long as you press the “acceleration” button every now and then to gain speed), with the level looping to the beginning after a while. Each level can be played in a few different ways, being mostly comprised of either completing challenges in a menu, or playing freely by trying to complete a few Tony Hawk-esque objectives. No matter which way you decide to play the game, your goal will be the same: gain points, which can then be used to either buy new equipment or unlock new levels for you to explore.

So far, so good. This doesn’t sound half bad, does it? When it comes to its ideas, Skate City delivers. It shows potential. Sadly, this game suffers from some really annoying issues. One of them is the sheer lack of content offered at the time of this review. I don’t know if the developers are planning to add new levels later on, but right now you have a whopping three cities at your disposal: Los Angeles, Oslo, and Barcelona. All three look way too similar to one another, which hinders the game’s overall minimalistic presentation, and their objectives can be summarised as being slightly more difficult versions of the same challenges present in the previous city.

Skate City Fog

Every level is so foggy that you can’t help but feel you’re skateboarding in Silent Hill.

Completing these objectives wouldn’t have been much of an issue if it wasn’t for the game’s biggest flaw: its controls. Essentially, the developers tried to emulate Skate‘s more “realistic” approach to street skateboarding on an OlliOlli perspective. You accelerate with the A button, while mainly performing tricks with both analog sticks. It sounds simple, but it’s not very responsive. You also need to constantly pay attention to small obstacles and ledges, as your character will fall down like a ragdoll frozen in carbonite if they touche anything that isn’t a grindable surface or the floor, due to the game’s subpar physics.

You don’t move very fast and you constantly need to press A to gain speed in order to perform your tricks. The problem is pressing A very briefly hinders you from jumping. This results in one of the most common situations I’ve seen while playing Skate City: crashing into a harmless trash can that apparently is made out of tungsten. Being a street-based game, you can’t do complex combos. This is mostly due to the lack of areas to perform tricks on, as rails and ramps occasionally take ages to show up. You don’t feel very “cool” while playing Skate City. Your tricks are basic, the presentation is simple, and the soundtrack isn’t upbeat enough to improve its overall atmosphere.


Press A to jump would have been much better than what we ended up getting here.

Skate City isn’t terrible, but I can’t help but feel that I could just spend my time playing a lot of much better skateboarding games out there instead of this one, be them indies or AAAs. It has good ideas, but its execution feels undercooked due to its unnecessarily confusing control scheme and pitiful amount of content. If you can’t wait for a new OlliOlli, or if Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is just too mainstream for you, then sure, Skate City can be quite fun in very small bursts. Just keep your expectations in check before you start playing it.


Graphics: 6.5

I appreciate this game’s minimalistic approach, as well as its excellent framerate, but its environments (all three of them) are ridiculously repetitive and unmemorable.

Gameplay: 5.5

Skate City‘s stick-based trick system, coupled with its auto-run gameplay and bad physics, results in a gameplay loop that is way more cumbersome than it should be. Not to mention the repetitive objectives in each level.

Sound: 6.0

The soundtrack is comprised of very good, but short and repetitive hip hop samples, as well as passable skateboarding sound effects. Skate City is in dire need of more energetic music to pick up the pace.

Fun Factor: 5.5

The recipe for a fun arcade-influenced skateboarding game is in here, but Skate City suffers from cumbersome controls and a sheer lack of overall content. It’s only enjoyable in very small bursts.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Skate City is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Skate City was provided by the publisher.