I have a really personal relationship to the Touchgrind series from developer Illusion Labs. You see, I didn’t buy the original iPhone when it launched in June of 2007. I wanted one, but I couldn’t afford it and I was locked into my Verizon contract and it was just one of those unobtainable things at the time. When Apple released the iPod touch a few months later I definitely considered it, but again it was a lot of money and I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. I needed a push. Well, when Apple opened up the App Store alongside the launch of the iPhone 3G in July of 2008, my desire for an iOS device was at a fever pitch. Despite not even owning an iOS device I was following along closely with the App Store’s launch lineup of games and I knew it was just a matter of time before I caved. I no longer needed a push, I just needed a nudge. Perhaps even the force of a light breeze.
Touchgrind was that nudge. By the fall of 2008 I had discovered TouchArcade as my go-to source for everything to do with iOS gaming, both its front page stories and its forums that were teeming with activity back then. I read it religiously everyday at work, and it was when they posted the first trailer for the original Touchgrind on September 9th, 2008 that I finally broke down. That day also happened to be the same day Apple released the 2nd generation iPod touch, and I cruised over to Best Buy on my lunch hour and snatched one up. What a beautiful little device that was. I still remember the gigantic smile I had plastered on my face as I unboxed that bad boy in the Best Buy parking lot and fired it up. I’ll never forget that.
Well anyway, being a skateboarder for most of my life, I absolutely had to have Touchgrind. It wouldn’t launch for another couple of months or so, but at least I was ready for it with my shiny new iPod touch. This also meant that I became even more of a hardcore iOS game-a-haulic, becoming very active on the TouchArcade forums and buying new games on a daily basis. And of course that eventually led to me writing for TouchArcade and it becoming my full-time job for more than ten years now. So, thanks, Touchgrind? You’re sort of responsible for that in a weird way.
The Touchgrind series has expanded and evolved since that time in 2008. While it was a stunning demonstration of multi-touch and what could be possible on the touchscreen of an iOS device, it was also very awkward to play due to its strictly top-down camera view. It was more a digital toy than a full-blown game. It would be more than two years before Illusion Labs announced a follow-up to Touchgrind in May of 2011. This time they were trading in the skateboard for a bike with Touchgrind BMX, and also trading in the top-down camera view for a much more player-friendly 3rd-person perspective. Touchgrind BMX was awesome, and I actually reviewed that one myself back in July of 2011.
The following year in October a true sequel to the original Touchgrind was announced called Touchgrind Skate 2, though it wouldn’t actually launch until more than a year later in November of 2013. Spoiler alert: I liked that one too! It really benefited from the 3rd-person perspective and featured a ton of really well-designed levels. In November of 2017 Illusion Labs announced Touchgrind BMX 2, which launched the following April, and that is where the series has sat ever since. Until today, that is, as Illusion Labs has announced a brand new Touchgrind game and this time it ditches the bikes and skateboards for something new. Say hello to Touchgrind Scooter.
Ok, time to be real. Scooters don’t exactly scream “cool!" the same way that skateboards or BMX bikes do. I fully admit to being a hardcore electric scooter nerd, but that’s more about transportation than recreation. And in my experiences over the years, those push-scooters like the ones Razor became famous for selling and the people riding them have always just been a nuisance at skateparks. I’m not trying to be a hater, it’s just… not my thing. At all. That said, if the game more or less controls like a Touchgrind BMX game, and there’s a whole new set of awesome levels to explore and “shred" with a scooter, well then I can definitely get on board with that. Illusion Labs pegs the first half of 2021 as their release window for Touchgrind Scooter, and until then you can check out the game’s official website for more.