The exhilaration you feel as you land that series of tricks that you have only seen in magazines and your favorite skate tapes. This is the mission that Skater XL from Easy Day Studios is trying to capture. With various locations to dive into and skate around in, Skater XL provides an interesting bag of tricks to play with. Boasting a new control scheme at its disposal, Easy Day Studios feels they have the revolution the genre has been looking for; so does it stick the landing or is it just missing the gap?
Skater XL is a sandbox skateboarding game which is priding itself on a new control scheme in which you have independent control of each foot while on the board. With a gorgeous presentation, fantastic physics, and not to mention a great film editor on board, it hopes to capture the player’s imagination in what they believe they can pull off, and then, of course, show off to the world. All you have to do is start the game and begin skating, it’s as simple as that.
Here’s What I Liked:
All That Control – Skater XL‘s claim to fame is the control scheme. As stated before, it is set up in a way that you have independent control of each foot, giving you full control as you perform each trick. In this way, it is quite possibly the most realistic skating game ever. It truly makes you learn the anatomy of the trick and forces you to earn the lines you craft. If it’s hard in real life, it’s hard to do here. It’s an absolute joy when you have been working at a line and it finally goes to plan.
Very Photogenic – The video editor in this game is just phenomenal. While a little tricky to get used to initially, the clips that can be made from this can become a jaw-dropping level of gorgeous. You could literally create your own skate tape out of the clips you make from this: from the tripod shots at the bottom of the staircase to the fisheye shot as you grind across the ledge. It is all stunning and speaks greatly to the sandbox simulation style of the game.
Here’s What I Didn’t Like:
What do I do now? – Although the game excels in its physics and presentation, outside of some scripted challenges that feel like tutorials there isn’t much to do here. Sure, you can explore the maps and there is a sense of discovery in finding a nice spot to lay out some tricks, but beyond that there is no incentive to keep going.
Lack of Customization – The character creator here is lacking in any diversity of options for you to provide your character. It honestly feels like you are just picking what logo you are putting on your shirt, shoes, and board versus a true expression of self. No unlockables being here ensures that the limited options remain limited as you play.
A Lifeless World – In the handful of maps that come with the game, they are indeed sandboxes. However, they are incredibly empty, which causes you to feel odd in this place. Even in city landscapes, the vehicles don’t move and there is not a person to be seen. On one hand, this can be kind of peaceful but it also causes a very uneasy feeling as you skate around.
Skater XL is a super realistic skating simulator that encourages you to simply go out and skate. If you are someone who loves skateboarding and the thrill of just getting that trick down or making a cool montage to show off, then this is definitely for you. If not, it might be a tough time. Overall it’s a good game, it just feels like it is missing something.
Score: Reader’s Choice
Skater XL was developed and produced by Easy Day Studios. The game released on July 28th, 2020 for $39.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.