Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions/Beenox
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1-8
Online: Yes

As you may have noticed, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is held in pretty high esteem around these parts. My colleague Dustin loved it when it first came out last year, our Editor-in-Chief Jim was a huge fan of the PS5 version a few months ago, and it found its way onto our Best Games of 2020 list six months ago.

Unlike Dustin and Jim, however, I don?t have any history with the series. I don?t have any fond memories of sinking hours and hours into these games when they were first released (ours was a Nintendo-only household back in the day), so my obvious question going into Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 was: would it be as fun for a newcomer? Was the second game of the series really one of the greatest games of all time?

I don?t think I?d agree with the latter question, but I can say pretty definitively for the first: yes, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is fun, even if you?re not looking at it through rose-tinted nostalgia goggles.

Not too surprisingly, it?s a good game for a lot of the same reasons that Jim articulated back in the spring. There?s a lot of content here, and the way the levels are designed make it so that you can?t help but go back and play them over and over again. You don?t just pull off all the ollies and kickflips you can chain together in search of a high score, you also gather letters and collectibles scattered throughout every level. As someone whose previous experience with skateboarding games has been more in the 2D realm, it?s pretty eye-opening to play one of these games that encourages exploration and collecting on top of mastering cool tricks.

I?m not going to lie, though: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is tough, especially if you don?t have the sort of muscle memory Dustin referenced in his review. You need some pretty dexterous fingers to pull off some of these combos, not to mention a good sense of balance. In all honesty, it was only when I turned on several of the assists that I was even able to score more than a couple of points. To be fair, the game is up front about this in the opening tutorial, explicitly saying you need to practice in order to get better at it, but if you?re new, it may take some getting used to.

Thankfully, though, that hard work is worth it. While there are some classic remasters and remakes that leave you wondering what made them so great in the first place, that?s not the case with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. It?s been remade in a way that makes it feel thoroughly modern (in a good way), and even if you?re entirely new to the series, you should find plenty to enjoy here.

Activision provided us with a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-