Reviewed: April 27, 2010
Released: April 16, 2010
App Store Price: $9.99
Arguably one of the most treasured installments in the Tony Hawk franchise, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 has finally resurfaced after a decade of obsolescence, this time on the iPhone (or iPod Touch). What dazzled and amazed us back in 2000 might seem a bit dated when compared to some of Tony’s more recent and bloated titles. His latest game requires an actual skateboard (sans wheels) to play, so there is something a bit refreshing about going back to the basics with a solid skateboard engine and some slightly dated visuals that look more impressive than they really are given the 4” screen.
Everything is intact from the original including the 13 legendary pro skaters you can pick from to ride including Tony himself. More than a dozen of your all-time favorite locations are back with all sorts of opportunities for epic grinds and outrageous air. Choose from virtual D-pad controls or finesse the accelerometer to weave your way around the levels. Personally, I found the motion input too imprecise and the D-pad was far more sensitive that the analog stick of the PS2. It will take an hour or more to find what works best for you.
Jump into the Career mode and skate around the world earning cash while making a name for yourself or head over to Freeskate just to get a feel for the levels or tackle the single session mode and check off the various laundry list of objectives you must earn within a given time limit. Objectives range from pulling off a variety of stunts to finding and collecting hidden letters and pickups.
Earn cash then head to the Skate Shop where you can purchase new clothes and board designs to customize the gameplay experience or even unlock new levels to access in other game modes. You’ll also want to beef up those character stats so your game character advances along with your own skills.
If this game were to release on any other system or device it would be casually dismissed, but somehow the smaller screen really amps up the 10-year old visuals, and the while a bit washed out at time, the graphics for level design and character animation are arguably some of the best I’ve seen on the iPhone. The 3D looks great and the animation is fluid with only a few camera hiccups.
Pro Skater 2 rocks out with an impressive licensed soundtrack that works for the first few times you hear it, but it will quickly grow stale. Sadly, I found no way to play your own music; a huge oversight given the platform, so you are left with no alternative but to suffer or turn down the volume. The rest of the sounds are just as good as I remember.
This could be the start of a trend with PS2 games being emulated on the iPhone, and if so I am all in favor. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 still has some of the best skating gameplay and I forgot how much I missed this classic until I got to play it again on my iPhone. It might not play as nice as the console version but this is the best skateboard app that can currently fit in your pocket.