I thought this level of graphics was reserved for PCs only. I was wrong. With Touchgrind BMX, Illusion Labs AB has taken iPhone gaming to a whole new dimension. The level of detail is remarkable, and the smoothness even more so. I have found similar performance-demanding apps to occasionally stutter and slow down my phone’s OS after playing, but with Touchgrind BMX I have experienced no such problems… even on my measly iPhone 3GS. Gamers using the iPhone 4 with its faster processor should have no trouble whatsoever.
There are a variety of maps – from an industrial estate to sandy beaches and city skylines; all with fun obstacles and jumps. The way you control the bike is actually quite intuitive. Illusion Labs AB have ditched the usual technique of tilting the phone and have gone for an entirely different approach. You have to put one finger on the saddle to pedal, and one on the handlebars to steer. To perform tricks you have to move your fingers in a certain way – for example, to perform a “tailwhip” (where the tail of the bike spins around and the handlebars remain stationary), you flick the finger on the saddle and then release it. To stop the tailwhip for landing you simply place your finger back on the saddle. You do the same thing but with your other finger to perform a “barspin”. It’s quite difficult to explain but it makes sense when you actually play it.
For each trick you perform you gain points, but by doing this alone you cannot progress to the next stages. You have to earn something called “adrenaline points” by completing different challenges on each map. One example of a challenge is: “Ride the entire course at full speed without crashing”. You need a certain number of adrenaline points to continue. This game is far from easy however and will keep you trying for hours.
There are a couple of minor downsides to this game. Inevitably with such high graphics, this game is a real battery-drainer so make sure you have a charger handy if you are playing this on the move. It’s also £2.99 which is quite expensive as far as iPhone games go, although I think the price is worth it because the game play is so fun. The only thing missing from this game is a free roam option. If they release this in a future update then this game would be no doubt worthy of 5/5. For the moment though, I will give it a 4/5, although it definitely ranks high up in my favourite iPhone games and will certainly be staying in my games folder.
iPwnGamers Score: 4/5