Get in touch with your spirit animal in Infinite Skater
Infinite Skater ($0.99) by Space Inch, LLC is a beautiful over-the-shoulder endless runner that offers a lot more than your typical fare. If you enjoy infinite runners but want something more, then Infinite Skater could be a new gem to add to your collection.
Ever since mobile gaming became a huge deal, there have been a ton of endless runners that have hit the App Store, especially after Canabalt hit the scene. However, the one trend in the genre that has grown and oversaturated the market is the over-the-shoulder endless runner, especially after the popular Temple Run games. While there are many of these runners to choose from, they all are pretty much the same thing, with just a different skin. I have become rather tired of the endless runner genre, but when I heard about Infinite Skater, I was intrigued — this one certainly looked to stand out from the crowd, so I had to give it a try.
Visually, Infinite Skater is stunningly gorgeous. It features a lo-poly art style that gives it a bit of a retro aesthetic, and the landscapes that you’ll be skating through are beautifully lush and rich, as they are designed by visionary artist Jona Dinges. The colors in the game range from soft pastels to vibrant, bright hues, but they all meld together into a rather seamless dreamscape. Despite the lo-poly look, the animations in the game are fairly smooth and fluid, and the atmospheric soundtrack will definitely help you relax after a long day.
Infinite Skater currently features one path: Warrior. However, it appears that the developers are planning for some more in the future, as the “Heart” and “Vision” paths have a “Coming Soon” label on them. There are also two characters that you can choose from at the start, with one male and a female, of course. Like every other infinite runner game, the goal is to skate as far as you can before you inevitably crash into some kind of obstacle. There are also spirit animals that you will meet along your journey, and if you make an offering to them each time you find them, they will give you some nice gifts in exchange. The spirit animals element is a nice addition to a tried-and-true formula and helps give Infinite Skater a bit more depth than the competition.
The controls in Infinite Skater are just as you’d expect: swipe horizontally to change lanes, swipe down to duck under obstacles, and swipe up to jump. You can also do a double-tap to shield yourself, and you can grind side railings by swiping over one more time — the character will do the rest. If you see the rainbow spirit animals running alongside the trail, you can jump on them for a boosted ride. The controls just feel natural, especially if you’ve played other games in the genre before.
However, I did have a problem with the responsiveness of the swipe gestures at times on my iPhone 6s Plus, especially during those moments when you have to quickly move over or jump over something. I would swipe to attempt the action, but the game did not register it so I end up crashing. It also occurs during other parts of the game where quick reflexes are not needed, so I hope that the developers can optimize the controls to be more responsive in a future update. The game is still enjoyable, but it’s a bit frustrating when you die knowing that you tried to avoid it but it just didn’t register in time.
Along your runs, you’ll be able to gather up crystals that are eventually used to get offerings for the spirit animals. The other alternative is to spend them on power-up items to give you a boost during the next run, or even upgrade power-ups for a more potent effect. There are also other skateboards that you can buy, though they can be pricey. To keep things fresh, there are also missions that you’ll want to strive to complete on your runs, since they can net you some nice rewards as well. Completing a mission and collecting the prize will then bring out the next available goal to accomplish.
Since it is an endless runner, the replay value is high with the game, especially since it adds in different elements to the usual mix of gameplay. There is also Game Center support for leaderboards and a handful of achievements to collect, so there is plenty of reason to keep coming back for more.
So far, I’m enjoying Infinite Skater as it is a nice breath of fresh air for an overall tiresome genre, but I do want to see some optimization for the control responsiveness, as it gets kind of frustrating at times. Still, the game looks beautiful with the lush, visionary landscapes, the tranquil music is captivating, and the addition of spirit animals make the game much more interesting than the typical over-the-shoulder endless runner.
I recommend checking out Infinite Skater if you want a simple pick-up-and-play infinite runner that will pass the time. Infinite Skater is available on the App Store as a universal download for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for $0.99. There are optional in-app purchases for crystals and “reincarnation wheels” if you want to continue a run.