Digital storefronts are having an inexorable effect on the common videogame: names are ever-blander. Touch Grind BMX? At least it's not called Angry Bikes.
The game belies such drabness. With one finger on the handlebars and another on the rear wheel, you guide a riderless bike through linear courses filled with jumps that may be gnarly. The smooth framerate make things very easy on the eye, and when the perspective starts shifting the camera doesn't miss a thing. The magic, of course, is in the tricks.
Each course is filled with ramps, and moving your fingers at the right moment can launch the bike into anything from a backwards flip to a crooked 360 (aka wonky spin). While the bike's frame is moving it can be 'caught' with the fingers and re-spun in another direction – or the handlebars and rear wheel can be individually whipped round.
There's a multiplier system going on for unbroken streaks, and an excellent progression structure, but what makes Touch Grind BMX exceptional is its crisp and responsive controls. The bike's frame snaps to your fingers and spins out with exactly the right momentum from each flick, underpinning crazy tricks with deeply satisfying physics.
All that trips up BMX is confusion of purpose – as you unlock more levels, the difficulty of simply getting around the track increases. It's great when you're twisting fingers trying to pull off an upside-down barspin; less so when you're steering around obstacles. And it's a real shame there isn't a more open environment to mess around in.
But Touch Grind BMX has enough in that expertly-pitched control system to keep you replaying the same courses over and over, relaxing into a groove before smashing through the score barrier on one perfect run. It's an iPhone game you'll come back to for the controls alone – and that’s not something you can't say every day.