Dude, are you up for the challenge? A young Andy Mac and his friends need your help. These young skateboarders need a safe place to skate. The local skateboard park has been trashed and is too dangerous to use. There is a professional competition coming up that has a new skate park as the grand prize. It’s up to you to qualify as a skateboarding pro and then win this competition.
Cool game dudes. The programmers had to have fun coming up with this one. This game has a good soundtrack, crazy maneuvers and silly power ups plus plenty of puns. The fun music and the commentators/skaters cool running dialogue definitely keep you entertained. Even if you don’t have any idea what you’re doing, they’ll tell you.
The main goal of the game is to earn a new skatepark for your community by winning a professional skateboarding contest. First, you need to complete some rookie challenges at each level to prove yourself worthy. You are then qualified to take on the pro and boss challenges for each level that earn you cool prizes and provide the credentials you need to sign up for the contest.
There are a variety of awards you can receive for completing the rookie and pro challenges. You earn skill points with most challenges to improve your custom skater or even have a new skater join your team. Sometimes you also earn new gear to deck out your skater. In each level there are also scattered coins about that you can collect. Once you collect all the coins for a level you are able to buy additional gear to outfit your skaters. I have to warn you that some of the coins are placed in some wild places that require some insane skating to collect. I never pictured myself grinding a skateboard along a power line from house to house to pick up missing items, but it was an interesting challenge.
Backyard Skateboarding is a good game with no violence, which I am pleasantly surprised to find. This is a fun title even for someone who has never skateboarded and hasn’t played any of the other “Backyard” titles. The game seems simplistically straightforward at first, making me wonder how quickly I would get bored with it. As a guy who likes his war games with lots of gory details I was not sure I was going to take to this title, but this is a cool change of pace. However, the game does end up being strangely addictive.
Basic maneuvers are pretty easy, but the advanced maneuvers require exact timing and complex key combinations. The game can be played with keyboard or gamepad, but I only used the keyboard. A warning, younger children may have trouble with the key combinations for the advanced tricks. I can see the game may be easier for younger players with a gamepad as the buttons are more intuitive than on a keyboard.
The graphics for the game were not super, but they do what is needed. The program keeps up with the maneuvers I am pulling no matter how fast I am tapping the keys, but I do pop through walls occasionally when I execute some super fast radical moves. The simpler quality of the graphics also allows the game to be more accessible to older machines. This seems a wise choice for a game that appeals to younger players whose parents don’t let them have a top of the line gamer rig.
I also enjoy the running commentary by the skaters, especially by Sunny Day and Eric Stream. The commentary is informative and amusing and even downright ridiculous at some points. The running soundtrack of skateboarding music is also well done and an excellent addition.
The game has a dizzying array of maneuvers available to be performed by the skaters. Complex maneuvers require precise timing and an exact sequence of keys. I had to practice some of the maneuvers repeatedly to get the sequence and timing down just right during the time my character is catching air. It is a good model for transferring the real life complexity of the maneuvers to your fingertips.
There are also power ups that can let you go completely insane with your skater. Molasses time lets you go into a matrix-like mode and complete an impossible number of maneuvers while your skater hangs forever in the air. The lightning bolt, jet engine and spring power you up with super speed or bounce to reach some wild heights and speeds while doing your maneuvers. And with the washing machine your character goes through the spin cycle and gets super dizzy pulling some impossible rotations in the air. A very handy power up is the scales or balance booster that allows your character to maintain perfect balance while grinding along surfaces. This is especially helpful on some of the trickier surfaces like power lines and rooftops that you will find yourself upon.
There is a pool of skaters available to play, including a young Andy Mac of course, with different strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right skater for each challenge can make a huge difference, but most challenges can be finished with any skater if your fingers are nimble enough. Remember to keep improving the custom skater as you gain skill points. He or she can become your best skater and can be made to fit perfectly with the player’s strengths and weaknesses.
What makes this game work well is that you don’t have to do everything to move on to the next level. The player can pick and choose challenges earning the right to take on the boss challenge and open up the next level rather than playing a strictly linear game.
I love games, but so many of them are based around gory, bloody conflict, it makes them difficult to share with my kids. Backyard Skateboarding is an excellent non-violent game which as a parent I am happy to see.