Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 review for Nintendo Switch
At the height of the Tony Hawk’s professional skater series, there were few extreme sports games like this, and it still holds true in a good way today. Vicarious Visions’ remake of Neversoft’s two original games is a triumphant return to form for the series, and Tony Hawk Professional Skater 1 + 2 plays wonderfully on Nintendo Switch in review. The basic mechanics of skateboarding and tricking have been faithfully redone and modernized bringing together elements from the entire series. As a result, performing tricks like the 900 is as familiar as riding an old bike. A comprehensive selection of skaters, maps, music, and secrets do a fantastic job of defining the franchise’s identity, while meaningful customization and modes provide additional depth to the set. Vicarious Visions has a clear love for the series, and despite a few technical stumbles, it shines on Switch.
A skater’s dream
The gameplay remains tight and responsive in this remake. Forward is automatic, while familiar movements such as jumps, grinds, flips, and grabs are now linked to face buttons. Series veterans can choose between the original and new control schemes, but the controls are intuitive in both setups and the inputs for each turn can be customized as well. Additions to the basic movement set like the Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater 2, the return of Tony Hawk Professional Skater 3, and even the wall plant of Tony Hawk’s subway all demonstrate Vicarious Visions’ impressive commitment to modernizing the mechanics for new and returning players.
After choosing from or creating your own professional skaters return list, you will earn points and create a special counter by smoothly stringing together varied combos including grinds, manuals, kickflips, and more. This counter allows you to use special tricks which are worth big points but are more risky to achieve thanks to their length. In the moment-to-moment gameplay, players are encouraged to balance safe and risky tricks for the best results, especially as he wastes precious seconds getting back to your board after a deposit.
To progress on the maps of either game, you will need to achieve a set number of park goals or medals in score-based competitions. Park objectives include getting high scores, finding collectibles like the SKATE letters, and more. As the maps get more and more complex, the park objectives turn into challenging yet fun platforming puzzles. The tight timelines ensure that you’ll need multiple races to complete a map, but the varied goals and fun secrets keep it from being repetitive.
Trick to your heart’s content
Beyond being a faithful remake of the skating formula on Nintendo Switch, Tony Hawk Professional Skater 1 + 2 goes the extra mile to keep players coming back. Each mode earns you money which can be spent on customization options. All skateboarders have their own unlockable boards and outfits, and your created skateboarder can be fully equipped to get started. From shoes and tattoos, to the wheels and the base of your board, there is plenty to make your own. Experience points from playing naturally or completing challenges improve your profile and grant skill points that can be used to improve stats like speed and “hang time”. These RPG elements add additional nuances to dig into, but I found myself wishing they were tied to my profile, rather than having to upgrade each skater’s stats.
When you have had enough of browsing the cards in either game, you can put your skills in line. Matchmaking, private, and local multiplayer options are all available, in a decent variety of modes. In Graffiti, the player who scores the most items in their color wins, while Combo Mambo grants victory to the player with the highest combo score. I haven’t encountered any noticeable lag online, but load times can be inconsistent and I would like the game to have a few more unique modes to round out the offering.
For those who are more creative than competitive, the Create a Park mode is back. Using pre-made structures and items that can be unlocked with in-game currency, players can create any skating space they imagine. A clever range of tools make it a snap. Individual parts snap together like magnets, shortcuts to undo and copy speed up the process, and smart parts can have their shapes transformed on the fly to suit your needs.
Aged like a good wine
Many games are suffering from the transition to Nintendo Switch, but Tony Hawk Professional Skater 1 + 2 mostly successful. A rock-solid 30 FPS is a fair price to pay for the Switch’s portability. The lighting still does a great job of bringing all the colorful classic maps to life, and the load times are surprisingly decent. Sometimes long load times can occur when entering a card, but luckily restarting an execution takes a few seconds. The fuzzy, low-res character models in the menus are easily the weakest technical aspect of the game, but even that isn’t as much of a problem once you skate.
Miraculously, the team at Vicarious Visions managed to put together the soundtrack as well as new songs for this remake. Having tracks like “Superman” or “Police Truck” to rub shoulders with is wonderfully nostalgic. Players can even skip tracks at any time and filter the songs they want to hear in their rotation. Much love and attention has gone into preserving and updating the looks and sounds of the original games, and it remains on Nintendo Switch.
Tony Hawk is back, in Switch form
Tony Hawk Professional Skater 1 + 2 is a loving recreation of the cult classic skate games, while being an awesome iteration on the next step in the series. On Nintendo Switch, Tony hawk retains its best features, including a fantastic variety of well-designed maps, cleverly modernized skating gameplay, endless customization, and a rocking soundtrack. Lower-resolution character models and a lower, albeit stable, lower frame rate are meager speed bumps on the road to experiencing one of the best remakes of recent times. Tony Hawk is definitely back, and I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see this series anytime soon.
Release Date: June 25, 2021
Number of players: 1 to 8 players
Developer: Vicarious Visions
A Nintendo Switch review code for Tony Hawk Professional Skater 1 + 2 was provided by the publisher.
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