When I first heard about Decksplash I was excited, because I really enjoy skateboarding games and there hasn’t been a good one in quite a long time. Decksplash is pretty much fingerboards that were put in a video game, but the fingers are invisible. As I wrote in the announcement article, the game is skateboarding based but there is no actual skaters in the game. You control a double kick tail skateboard, which has different decks but with no stat boosts, as you grind and flip throughout the level. The one thing that wasn’t shown was the actual controls, so when I launched the beta I was very surprised that I had to relearn a new set buttons to pedal, ollie and grind.
With a game so iconic as the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, it’s only necessary as I use it basis for any skateboard themed game that came after it. It’s with that I say that Decksplash takes all those controls that people are used to and throws them out the window. I was able to use my Xbox One controller for the game, so that made learning the new controls a little easier than using a keyboard. Decksplash is pretty much fingerboards that were put in a video game, but the fingers are invisible. Instead of pressing a direction with the left joystick and going there, the right trigger is a pedal button that you use to make the board to faster or slower. There is an ollie button and the grind button must be pressed the whole time you’re grinding or it stops. There is no real way to do a heel flip, kick flip, etc. because the should buttons are used to rotate the board in general which is part of the tricks available. You are able to link grinds and flips together and transferring from rail to rail is possible. The game is very forgiving when it comes to starting a grind, but you really have to get used to the landing. When approaching a grindable ledge or rail, it’s pretty much a crap shoot on what kind of grind you’ll be doing. I ended up doing an ollie, alternating the shoulder buttons and holding the grind button to see what happened. I would also like to say that the game is very forgiving with the landings, as you can land in manual and still get a decent amount of points for an OK landing. In the game a perfect landing is straight with all four wheels touching at the same time. You are able to see how your board is coming down, so tapping the shoulder button to correct yourself is possible.
In the beta there was only a play online feature with one level and one game type. It was a small skate park where you had to do the best tricks to tag an area for your team. The team you’re on is made up of three people, and you work as a team to do the best tricks in every area possible. I found that doing something as easy an an ollie 360 could generate enough points to tag an area for your team, although if someone did a higher point trick and landed in that specific area they would take it over. The thing is the boards are moving so fast and you’re trying to do as many things possible that a lot of people end up landing in the same areas, so if you were to find a spot that no one was at you could easily take it over and keep it the whole round. As I mentioned above, there was just a splash screen with some controls, but nothing was explained. This was an issue when there was a prompt on the screen that the landing zone for your team is available and I saw people leveling up, but I had no idea what to do and I was pressing all the buttons possible. There was a button that correlated to the landing zone, but nothing happened when I pressed it in an area that my team had taken over. Oddly enough we won the round and I received second place for my team, but there were no stat boosts, unlocks or anything showing a goal to keep playing.
I know that this is a beta and there will be more options in the game, but for the most part there should have been something showing that you need to keep playing to progress. There was no area to choose your board type, it was randomly chosen for you. The music was comprised one song playing over and over, which was ok the first few times but when you have to sit and listen to it while waiting for playing to join your game you’ll want to turn your sound off. The match making was a reason why I only played one game, as the game has to be three on three and the number of players constantly moved from two in the queue to five and then to three. I even tried leaving and looking online for another match, but was put in a room with the same players over and over. I really hope that this was just a single bad experience that I had, and earlier in the day when people were playing the matchmaking was quicker. In the email for the beta, I was told that my code would be good for Thursday only so unless I was mistaken I won’t be playing the beta again. I would like another shot at the beta so I could have my mind changed, but as of right now I don’t see any reason for me to purchase this game.