High expectations are pretty standard for remakes or remastered versions of classic games, and the pressure can't rise much more than it did for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Nintendo Switch.
This modernized pair of classics first arrived on PC, PS4, and Xbox One in September of 2020, jumped to PS5 and Xbox Series X|S in March of 2021, and now has finally landed on Nintendo Switch.
First Impressions of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Switch
If you've ever played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 or Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 before getting your hands on this, prepare for a massive injection of nostalgia right from the start.
The soundtrack easily ranks as one of the greatest in video game history, delivering some of the most memorable songs of the era which also happen to be perfect skating music.
Having been out of practice for some time, the tutorial was a major help, and playing the game felt as natural as it did all those years ago after a quick refresher.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 isn't coasting on nostalgia, though, as this version has clearly taken the best parts of these classics and polished them to perfection.
When it comes to pure gameplay, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Switch is as good as the series has ever been, and the Switch never interferes with that.
Whether you're playing in handheld or docked mode, the controls feel natural and inviting with the joycons or a full controller while remaining difficult to truly master.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is widely regarded as one of the greatest games of all time, often landing on massive "best games ever" lists, and it was winning awards left and right even when it was released in 2000.
While there are definitely other factors at play, the gameplay was primarily responsible for that, and this remastered version has translated that perfectly.
While you can create your own Custom Skater, you're also given the option to choose between the following legendary and modern skaters:
- Tony Hawk
- Bob Burnquist
- Jamie Thomas
- Rodney Mullen
- Steve Caballero
- Bucky Lasek
- Chad Muska
- Elissa Steamer
- Eric Koston
- Geoff Rowley
- Kareem Campbell
- Rune Glifberg
- Andrew Reynolds
- Aori Nishimura
- Leo Baker
- Leticia Bufoni
- Lizzie Armanto
- Nyjah Huston
- Riley Hawk
- Shane O'Neill
- Tyshawn Jones
They've also included a character named "Ripper" which hails from Tartarus, Abyss and is literally a skeleton that was actually inspired by a classic skateboard design from Powell-Peralta artist V.C. Johnson.
You can also edit which Special Tricks you have in your arsenal and even customize the button combinations needed to execute them.
Regardless of who you choose to skate as, or which level you're in, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Nintendo Switch translates the perfection of skating just as you'd hope.
We've actually seen a remake like this fail to deliver as hoped, as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD was released in 2012 and met with a lukewarm reception and failed to truly capture the greatness of the past.
One of the primary criticisms at the time was also missing game modes, such as split screen multiplayer and park creator, but fortunately both have been delivered this time.
Publisher Activision may not have nailed the formula when Robomodo developed Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, but Activision found their perfect dance partner with developer Vicarious Visions.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Switch has a variety of game modes and ways to play, and none of them feels like it's lacking.
The core of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 are Skate Tours, which challenge you to take on all the levels from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and all the levels from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2.
These are timed runs, giving you a specific window of just a few short minutes depending on the map to navigate around it, finish specific challenges, and rack up the highest score you possibly can along the way.
Skate Tours also has a Ranked and Free Skate mode within it, which lets you choose any level to tackle either without a time limit in Free Skate or with one in Ranked to try and make the online leaderboard for high scores.
There are a variety of options for multiplayer, bringing players together in a fun and competitive way by maximizing today's capabilities.
You can choose Quick Playlist to hop online and face other skaters, sometimes competing for a high score or in challenges like Graffiti where you tag objects by skating on them and attempt to claim more objects than your opponents.
There's also a Private Match and a Local Wireless option, giving you more ways to connect with your friends and play.
Split-Screen also feels natural and easy to use, allowing two players to skate simultaneously in the same park without sacrificing too much in terms of screen view.
Create A Park
Having a good creation suite can really energize a player community, and that rings true for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Switch as well.
You can head into Create A Park yourself and let your imagination run wild by creating the park of your dreams or nightmares, whatever feels right for you.
Using the Create A Park interface can take a little getting used to, but it's overall very intuitive and pieces connect fairly easily.
You're also able to go online and play creations made by other players, of which there are several really fantastic parks to choose from.
Even with the limited power on Nintendo Switch compared to other platforms, the console handles Create A Park well.
While you can choose from different outfits and boards for the skater roster that's already in the game, you can take that customization up a notch when making a Custom Skater.
You'll get to customize your appearance, including choosing a face that will give your skater either a generally male or female body type, choosing a voice (which is not tied to gender), and then customize head and facial appearance from there.
You can change skin tone, eye color, makeup, hair style and color, and facial hair style and color, none of which are tied to the face and body type you chose.
You'll have a variety of clothes to pick from, tattoos that can be put on your character, and board customization options, all of which you can continue to unlock more of in the Skate Shop as you work through the game.
On top of the challenges that you face within individual levels, such as collecting the S-K-A-T-E letters or knocking over five different piles of boxes, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Switch also has a Challenges system.
Over 800 different challenges exist between every different game mode and facet of the title, some for simple tasks like creating a Custom Skater, and others for executing difficult combos.
Each time you complete a Challenge, you're rewarded with XP to level up your profile and cash to spend in the Skate Shop for additional Custom Skater options.
Game Mods (Cheats)
In what might be the best throwback to classic games, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Switch actually has the most important cheats built into the game.
This wasn't an uncommon practice of that era, though back then they were often activated with complicated button sequences that got shared around on the early days of the internet or via physical cheat code books sold in stores.
If you head into Options and then Game Mods, you can first adjust the in-game moveset to be solely moves from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 or Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 or leave the current game's default moveset in place.
From there, you have five different cheats or "Assists" you can activate:
- Perfect Rail Balance
- Perfect Manual Balance
- Perfect Lip Balance
- Always Special
- No Bails
While it does clarify that mods are disabled in certain game modes and prevent putting your score on a leaderboard, they can give you a casual and fun experience that removes some of the challenge temporarily.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 on Switch is nearly perfect, and much of that comes from the quality of the original games themselves, especially considering Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 remains one of the highest reviewed games of all time on Metacritic with a 98 out of 100.
However, the hard work by Vicarious Visions can't be overstated, as they've polished them in a truly fantastic way that delivers everything we loved about them back then while adding the modern conveniences of gaming today.
If there is anything to nitpick, it's the fact that the Nintendo Switch version of this remaster isn't quite as crisp and loads a bit slower than the other versions released on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.
However, the slight loss in graphics quality from other platforms to Nintendo Switch and mild loading time increase is likely something that the majority of players won't have an issue with, as it still feels upgraded when considering the original games are over two decades old.
Honestly, that's the only thing I can find to fault the game for, because it absolutely delivers in every single other area and brings the fun and challenge of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater into the modern era, and now even on the go.
RealSport Rating: 4.5 Stars (out of 5)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 is now available on Nintendo Switch, and it is also still available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.