LifeisXbox’s Skatebird Review | Growing up I was a huge fan of the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series on Playstation and Nintendo 64. Being able to grind, Ollie, Kickflip and perform all sorts of tricks I could only dream of doing in real life was always a thrill for me as a kid. Looking at Skatebird, I was interested to see what techniques it borrows from the much-beloved franchise whilst also offering fresh takes on the genre. Created and published by Glass Bottom Games with Plastic Fern Studios also as a developer, my initial impression was that this would be some sort of carbon copy of the aforementioned Tony Hawk games. But I was wrong. Skatebird offers a refreshing take on the skateboarding genre, but does it offer enough to hold enthusiasts’ attention?
ℹ️ | We played Skatebird for Two Hours on Xbox Series S. This game is also available on Xbox One and S/X, Nintendo Switch, Steam, Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux.
What we liked!
- Sick Tricks | Skatebird contains all of the usual tricks we all know and love from the Tony Hawk days. We have Ollie’s, kickflips, grinding on rails, we have half-pipes, and more. It’s a full cast of tricks to pull off and a neat score multiplier in the form of an egg yolk that stands out. The execution of the tricks is simple enough in concept but can sometimes be tricky to pull off. There were times where grind for example would be listed under the A button but then given the nature of my position is it on the ground or air, it may change to Y or B as A would then be given preference to air tricks. It’s not the end of the world but can lead to some confusing payoffs.
- Customisations | When you first start with Skatebird, you are given the choice of choosing what type of bird you want to be and customising it with various clothes and accessories. It’s a great way of making the character yours and making it unique to you. I ended up choosing a scarf, some aviators, a skater beanie, and a skater’s belt.
- Mini Missions | The tasks are generally very easy, and the time limits Skatebird provides to collect stuff and build scores are fairly generous. Items and letters required for individual objectives are often placed quite close together in a single area of the map, but even if they’re more spread out an onscreen marker will lead you directly to them. With the missions, once you have completed all of the said objectives within the skate area, you then unlock new skate areas to play in which range from rooftops, offices, and messy bedrooms.
- Accessability | Skatebird has a wealth of accessibility options which I am all for. Not many games these days include a level of control and customisation that this offers and I am pleased to see it listed on the Can I play that website for people with disabilities.
- A bit gimmicky | Skatebird does have a lot of charm to it. The birds are cute, they are well animated and you can customise them in loads of different ways. However, the target audience for this game isn’t your general preteen or child who enjoy playing Xbox or Nintendo. The skateboarding phase from generation X is all but grown up now. Generation Y are addicted to telephones, tablets, Tik Tok, and various other online personalities. The skateboarding fever I used to know and love still lies with Tony Hawk and the games from yesteryear. Knowing your target audience when building a game like this is pivotal when trying to make a splash in the market and making sales. For the audience, this game is intended for the game needed to be much simpler and more refined. Children will find this game very difficult and likely get frustrated with it because of how close it resembles actual skateboarding.
- Bird Themed Tunes | I am not a huge fan of the music in the game and it’s certainly not the worst, but the bird-themed tracks can get a little old quite quickly. Matching with the above comment of ” a bit of a gimmick” it certainly meets its standards of incorporating the bird theme into the mix. I would have much preferred some standard punk and rock music created in-house whilst skateboarding as it’s always been the theme for skateboarders in general. This is subjective though so take my criticism here with a pinch of salt.
What we disliked
- Nothing New | The skateboarding itself is okay, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Skatebird takes the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 formula where they removed the timer in exchange for taking your time to explore and find mini-missions as mentioned above. It just goes to show that if it’s not broken, no need to fix it. It would have been great to see them do something different with the genre and given the level of customisation here my mind instantly draws to something of a Back to the Future reference or crossover with hoverboards, which to me would have been a lot better given that the game isn’t trying to take itself too seriously.
- Buggy | My time with Skatebird wasn’t without its issues. Constant wall clipping, camera issues, and getting stuck on grind rails to name just a few. I also found the camera to be tricky to move. I would have preferred a much faster turn rate and couldn’t find an option for this to increase the sensitivity.
How long to beat the story | No story to beat but can unlock additional skate areas
How long to achieve 1000G | 10 Hours
Similar with | Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4. The freeplay mode and lack of timers for each skating session have been removed so you can play at your own pace.
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.