The world is full of spots. They invite you, seducing you into skating on them. A great skate spot encourages you to nail a line of tricks on it, pushing you to keep trying after every bail. An expertly placed ramp that leads you to a rail and down a flight of stairs is one of the many Mona Lisas that skaters strive for. The idea of successfully conquering said spot is what drives them to push themselves, learn from their mistakes, and grow. It’s all about the location, something some skateboarding games have nailed for over two decades. And while newcomer Skater XL has a good foundation for its trick system, it fails to inspire the practice of those mechanics on its small number of largely lacklustre levels.
Skater XL’s trick system is easy to understand and rewarding to learn. Each analog stick is assigned to a foot, and your job is to twist and push those sticks to pull off a cavalcade of tricks. A kickflip requires you to pull the right stick (your right foot) back, snap it up for an ollie and then kick the board with your left stick (left foot) to cause it to flip. It’s an engaging way to perform the simplest tricks, and while it may sound complicated, Skater XL’s physics give you a lot of room for nailing tricks.
At times, it feels somewhat weightless and more like you’re controlling a board with no one on it than an actual person that has to twist their body and manipulate the board with their feet. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as many games have utilized less-than-realistic physics to create great skateboarding power fantasies. Unfortunately, Skater XL’s levels aren’t the interesting playgrounds for your skateboarding endeavors that they need to be for a compelling experience.