Endless Skater comes exclusively to the Microsoft Win 8 app store for play on your tablet, surface, PC, and laptop. It should be noted that Endless Skater is not just some skateboarding game. Its pedigree of developers boasts some of the same folks who put together a little skating game empire called Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? More on this later.
With its new Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft is attempting to gain market share in the ever growing mobile market. For the last several years Apple’s iPhone has had great success as not just a phone, but as a mini game-playing device as well. Like many folks, Microsoft either didn’t see the gaming potential of mobile devices at all or were just slow to steer themselves toward the gargantuan audience who are always hungry for casual, but excellent games to download.
Initially released in late 2012 , Win 8 is heading toward an ‘update’ (8.1) in late 2013. Microsoft realizes it needs outstanding, sometimes exclusive content in its App Store to attract those millions of eyeballs it covets. Enter Super Villain Studios and Endless Skater.
Chris Rausch, Chief Creative Officer at Super Villain Studios and Ralph D’Amato, the producer on Endless Skater were both original dev team members at Neversoft Entertainment for the first several Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. For this project both got hands on in addition to their executive responsibilities. Rausch with level design, and D’Amato faultlessly re-inventing the control scheme’s from THPS onto the Win 8 devices (including a good ole Xbox controller). It seems as though their efforts have paid off: the game is currently the #1 most downloaded free game in the Microsoft App Store.
The game is a side scrolling, timed skating, grinding, flipping, gripping, gapping trick fest. With the aforementioned intuitive controls, the more tricks/combos you land, the higher your score, the more you earn, the more you upgrade… you get the picture. Levels randomly generate, making it highly unlikely you see the exact same lines over and over. In addition, each run has 3 different lines. Some lines may not be accessible with your current stats…so practice, upgrade and discover the new lines.
Although free, Endless Skater does not look cheap. There are 30 top clothing and skate gear licenses in game, in addition to 5 top tier pro skaters (one of whom you choose as your in game avatar). To round out the near AAA console experience, No Sleep Records provides an original soundtrack. One of the best features of Win 8 games is that play progression is saved, via cloud, on any Win 8 gaming device. Start on your home laptop, play a bit more at lunch as you Surface browse, continue on mom’s PC after you drop off groceries.
No one yet knows if Microsoft’s late entry into the mobile app store business will succeed, but they are probably smart to enlist devs like Supervillain Studios, who clearly have a good idea how to make a small, fun game with no shortage of quality (as proof, they also have an app called Order Up! that has over 6 million downloads).