Highly polished and well executed, Touchgrind BMX stands out for its unique controls and almost console-like game experience. The first time you open Touchgrind BMX you can take a series of three quick video tutorials that offer the formula for success the rest of the way.
Conceptually the controls for pedaling your BMX across the game’s different courses seems simple. You hold your bike like you would a finger skateboard, steering from side to side with your front finger on the handle bars. Slowing down or accelerating is just a matter of raising or pressing your back finger down on the seat.
When you hit a jump you can flick your fingers in a variety of ways to sail through the air and rack up points, and if you crash you just jump back up on the saddle and continue on your way.
Executing a series of tricks in a row delivers bonus points and a special slow down feature that makes you feel like you’re flying in slow motion (allowing for cooler tricks), but when it comes to actually navigating the courses, the initial difficulty of achievement could be a barrier to entry for some gamers.
Those familiar with these kinds of games will probably fare better and become immediately addicted to the game’s achievement setup. Each level provides a series of unique tasks for how to ride the course and completing each challenge either delivers points that unlock new courses, offers more BMX paint, and even lets you earn new cool bikes.
While aspiring toward more adrenalin points with insane crooked back flips combined with other tricks in midair is fun in and of itself, Illusion Labs did an especially good job of making the bike unlock feature feel like actually the way it does to actually unbox some awesome sought after gear.
The sound effects are another strength for Touchgrind BMX. The sound of riding on whatever surface is depicted sounds amazingly realistic, but what’s even better are the sounds of your bike hitting the ground and crashing. The sounds coming from your speakers sound just like a BMX park would feel, giving the experience an especially great edge.
Where Touchgrind BMX misses out is in its lack of difficulty settings and the fact that there’s no sandbox for messing around and perfecting tricks. Instead the entire game is set within the context of the achievement based courses. It’s understandable that Illusion Labs wanted to keep people immersed in a game storyline, but purists would have appreciated a place to mess around.
Bottom Line: With unique controls and a long list of incentives to get gamers obsessed, Touchgrind BMX has all the makings of a must have staple game for the iPhone.