There are very few full 3D skateboarding games like Mike V: Do or Die – Skateboarding, developed by Ratrod Studio Inc., on the app store and the desire for a good one is high. If you’ve ever played a skateboarding game before then you’re in for a repeat performance in terms of gameplay as there is nothing really groundbreaking to be found in Mike V. Just ride around on your skateboard and do as many tricks as you can within the time limit. Pulling off new tricks will gain you experience that unlocks new stages to explore. To increase the replay value, the developer has included tokens scattered across each level than can be picked up to unlock even more content.
Level design: There is a great amount of variety in each level that really makes them feel unique. Each level has its own theme from basic ramp park to cityscape. Ramp placement is also very well arranged. Some of the most inspired level designs I’ve seen since Tony Hawk 2.
Lots of unlockables: Between the tokens sprinkled throughout each level and the automatic unlocks from leveling up, there is a considerable amount of unlockables to earn. I actually enjoyed watching the extra videos.
Customization: There is a decent variety of custom clothing, decks, and wheels that can be unlocked that help you make your character look more unique. I particularly like the original deck and wheel designs.
Sound: As a rock and roll fan I really enjoyed the custom soundtrack for the game. It’s not the best you’ve ever heard but it’s solid for an iPhone game.
The sound effects outside of the standard skateboarding noises were pretty solid as well. When moving through menus a guitar riff is strummed, adding to the metal feel of the game.
Controls: The controls are atrocious to say the least. Not only is it difficult to even get your skateboarder to move around effectively, but also getting jumps off ramps is nearly impossible. If you manage to get a decent ramp jump good luck getting in a decent trick. The trick board on the right of the screen is not nearly responsive enough. I found myself frantically swiping the board trying to get any trick I could off when actually airborne. A virtual dpad, even if it was just an optional control scheme, might have saved this game from failure.
Mike V was a good effort by the developer, there is so much good stuff in the game it’s truly a tragedy they missed a key gameplay element: playability. Had the horrendous controls not been virtually unusable, this game could have been a must have. However, since the game is borderline unplayable I would strongly suggest you look elsewhere for your skateboarding fix.