Tony Hawk's American Sk8land
Tony Hawk goes big in a small way.
Preview by (Email)
September 28th 2005
The Basics: With Tony Hawk's American Sk8land for the Nintendo DS, the dual-screened dynamo is poised to get a little more extreme. Tony Hawk's latest travel-sized take on skateboard thrashing is a little different from its upcoming console counterpart, American Wasteland; instead of a simple, pared-down version of the home game, American Sk8land is home to an entirely original design that takes the classic THPS gameplay mechanics and applies them to a whole new world built exclusively for the DS.
Tony Hawk's American Sk8land separates itself from other iterations in the series with a unique cel-shaded art style that brings the speedy action to life with vivid results. The game's environments are rendered in full 3D, and are rich in detail. Even more impressive is the fact that the graphical engine is running at a blistering 60 frames per second, meaning animations for the skaters are smooth as silk. The DS' special features are put to use as well; the touchscreen will be used for a variety of things, including displaying a comprehensive map, location and objective guide for each skatepark, creating custom parks in the Create-A-Park Mode, making your own graffiti tags and skateboard art, and to perform special moves that you assign to your skater more easily. You can even use the microphone to record your voice and make sound samples that replay when you and the ground get more closely acquainted (read: when you wipeout in hilarious fashion).
The most intriguing feature by far, however, is support for online features. Indeed, developer Vicarious Visions and Nintendo have been grinding hard throughout the development process to ensure that American Sk8land – one of the first games on the DS to support online play - utilizes the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service to the fullest. The complete list of supported modes isn't finished yet, but multiplayer modes like Combo Mambo, Horse, Trick Attack and more are in the mix, with more to be added as the game nears completion. Board jockeys can also post and swap their high scores and best runs over the network as "ghosts" that other players can download to their systems and compete against...or learn from.
What do we think? As a big-time Tony Hawk series fan, the prospect of an all-new portable experience had me salivating to begin with, but the addition of online support just kicks things into overdrive. Tony Hawk's American Sk8land has the potential to start off Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection service (slated to roll out in November) with a bang. The game itself looks gorgeous, and the gameplay - spiced up with some tasty DS functionality - looks to be every bit the winner that other entries into the series have been. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one, no question. Tony Hawk's American Sk8land is on track to roll into stores this November.