Perfect Grind review: "Radical tricks at the flick of a wrist"
| Perfect Grind
Skateboarding represents a type of energy and freedom that many people aspire to feel. It's definitely not an easy lifestyle to follow, which is why games like Perfect Grind by Noodlecake have value. This is a 3D skateboard game that has been tailored for touchscreen. By using swipes and long presses, you're able to perform jumps, tricks, and other maneuvers the average person hasn't even heard of before. There's an emphasis on chaining these tricks together to rack up points and see how expertly you can flow seamlessly from one trick into another… sometimes while in the air.
Every lifestyle has its own legends and aspirations, so it's not strange to think that skateboarding does as well. It's likely that the Perfect Grind is named after the very technique it strives to achieve. You are a fledgling skateboarder who has recently joined a skate gang called the Peel Flippers. Run by an anthropomorphic banana (or maybe a person in a detailed banana suit), the gang is aiming to be the best skaters in the area. This means you need to master all the different tricks so that you get the biggest points and dominate the numerous skate parks. No one messes with people who know how to use a piece of wood with wheels.
When making a skateboard game, the goal is to make it fast and responsive. Perfect Grind hits a lot of the right notes when aiming for this. With an optional tutorial, you're free to explore the game however you want. There are several modes, including a Free Skate mode right off the bat so that you can start shredding as soon as it opens. Even though there's such a huge range of tricks to perform, the swipe controls are able to cover them effectively. Once you learn all the basics, it feels good to get into a flow where you're performing trick after trick and feeling good while doing it.
This highlights another thing Perfect Grind does well, and that is satisfaction. Skateboarding is not easy by any means which is why it feels so satisfying to master. Even if it is only in a digital form, the moment you pull off a difficult trick or chain together a long combo is incredibly satisfying. With all the skate parks to explore, you can make your own challenges to attain a personal best. There are also NPCs scattered around who will help you flex your different skills, including timing, collecting, or simply landing a tough trick. This all feeds into making you feel like a better skateboarder.
Even though skateboarding is hard, games are meant to give us a more forgiving alternative for those who are interested in it. The Perfect Grind has decent difficulty but doesn't always carry it in the best ways. The biggest flaw is the turning and speed. Though the swipe controls cover jumps, tricks, and interactions, it doesn't help enough with movement. You can't gain speed on a whim, you simply need to wait for the skater to slowly accelerate, or spend time jumping up ramps. The turning is also very slow and gradual in a sport where sharp turns are commonplace. The fact that you have no control over this is disappointing and remains noticeable with each new attempt.
Perfect Grind is a 3D skateboard game about trying to be the best skater you can be in a colourful cartoon setting. The vast array of tricks you can perform with the ease of swiping keeps things fast and satisfying. Unfortunately, the fact that you can't manually control the speed or improve turning really harms the experience. The challenge is to get past that so that you can shoot for the perfect grind.