Touchgrind BMX is a sort-of sequel to Illusion Labs’ Touchgrind, which was an interesting, but ultimately lacking Skateboard simulator. BMX switches its focus from boards to bikes, and manages to make this experience much better than its first outing at a skate park. Sporting tight controls, pretty visuals, and, of course, a handful of unique tracks to pedal through, Touchgrind BMX manages to make it to the finish line without crashing into a mangled heap.
The immediate noticeable change from the first Touchgrind (aside from the change in equipment, obviously), is the shift in camera positioning. The player’s point-of-view now rests comfortably behind the bike, instead of hovering overhead, looking down. This small change might not seem like much to talk about, but the top-down camera issue I had with the first Touchgrind was one of my biggest complaints with the game. Brushing aside this problem right away, the rest of BMX falls neatly into place.
You spend the duration of your playtime riding your bike, attempting to perform tricks of varying difficulty, using your two fingers to control your hardware. You’ll ride through the tracks mostly on-rails, which keeps the player from having to steer, pedal, and do tricks. You still are given a little control over your speed and general direction; release your finger on the seat to slow down, and swipe your finger left and right to turn (slightly) left or right. But the restricted movement never really felt restrictive, and the controls gave me enough power without becoming overwhelming.
The control scheme is well-implemented, and doing tricks like tailspins and flips feels natural and smooth. Although the controls do have some slightly unresponsive moments (such as when your handlebars spin slower than they should, despite your rapid swipe), they manage to hold game sessions together well. Simply put, BMX manages to make you feel like the virtual ruler of the local skate park. (Key word being virtual.)
There’s really nothing to the game aside from the trick-focused, single player gameplay. But this is not a bad thing, since what the game does, it does well. It helps that the trick variety is matched with several unique and seriously inventive tracks, ranging from a ramp-riddled winter-wonderland to a rocky, mile high mountain trail. And a replay “theatre” allows you to save your best runs, already edited with epic camera angles, to make you feel like even more of a beast on a bike. However, if you are a player looking for a game with social features, you might not enjoy the game as much.
Don’t judge the game prematurely based on its predecessor; Touchgrind BMX shines throughout. It’s hard to say the game is skimpy on content when it is a polished as this, not to mention fun. It delivered exactly what I wanted from it: a mobile BMX experience that makes you feel like a trick master. If you want that kind of ego-boost, look no further.