This is actually my third time reviewing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. I covered the game on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 over the past year, both times praising the revamped release and describing it as skateboarding perfection. I don’t think that’s me being hyperbolic either, with the revamped duo of titles offering a sublime experience that completely exceeded my expectations.
Of course, whilst the title has hit all other modern consoles already, the Nintendo Switch version took a little longer to release. Well, it’s finally here now, giving gamers the chance to take their skateboarding antics out and about with them on the go. Hey, you could even play it in a skatepark, because you know… why skateboard in real life when it’s just as fun (and less dangerous) to do it digitally?
Check out a gallery of screenshots for the game down below:
As mentioned, I’ve reviewed Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 twice already (you can check out our PlayStation 4 review here and our PlayStation 5 review here) so I won’t go over all the ins and outs of its gameplay. To show how big of a fan of it I was though, you can read my original summary down below:
“Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is simply perfect, with the satisfyingly brilliant skateboarding mechanics standing the test of time over twenty years on from its original release. Add to that some stunning new visuals, additional gameplay mechanics and challenges, a robust ‘Create a Park’ feature that allows endless possibilities, and, of course, a banging soundtrack, and you’ll quickly find you’re in skateboarding heaven with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.
Bravo, Activision and Vicarious Visions… you’ve ABSOLUTELY nailed it.”
As you can see, I was super impressed with all facets of the game’s design and, even now, I still find myself coming back for more skateboarding action. With the Nintendo Switch version, players can experience all of the things that made the game so good to begin with, though there have been some sacrifices made that make it feel like an inferior version when compared with other consoles. That doesn’t make it bad by ANY stretch of the imagination (it’s still bloody fantastic), but there are some rough edges that will be especially noticeable if you’ve played the game on other platforms.
“With the Nintendo Switch version, players can experience all of the things that made the game so good to begin with, though there have been some sacrifices made…”
One of those comes with the frame rate. I almost feel a bit guilty knocking Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’s frame rate on the Nintendo Switch, because it’s super consistent and I didn’t notice any drops. However, it does run at 30fps, which is lower than the 60fps found on the PlayStation 4 and even lower again than the potential 120fps that the game can be played at on the PlayStation 5. Whilst it doesn’t make the experience feel significantly worse, it was a little jarring seeing the lack of fluidity after spending so long with the game on the PlayStation 5.
As mentioned though, the frame rate is super consistent, so it’s hard to complain too much. It manages to keep up with the action and ensures that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remains a lot of fun to play. It didn’t take too long for me to get used to it in-game either and it didn’t take long for me to start weaving those massive combos out with ease. It’s just worth noting that the experience on the Nintendo Switch won’t be as silky smooth as those seen on other platforms. But hey, if it’s your first time experiencing the game, you’ll be none the wiser.
“I’ve seen a few Nintendo Switch ports that have taken a real hit to the visuals and even look like a blurry mess in places, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’s locales were still packed with detail and were great to skate across.”
Naturally, the visuals aren’t as detailed as those seen in the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 counterparts, with the Nintendo Switch version of the game having a few sketchy textures and lacking sharpness around the edges. You know what, though? It still manages to look really good. I’ve seen a few Nintendo Switch ports that have taken a real hit to the visuals and even look like a blurry mess in places, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2’s locales were still packed with detail and were great to skate across. Best of all, there aren’t any significant differences between both docked and handheld modes of the console, so those playing on the go will get to enjoy the game’s slick visuals too.
So it’s clear that the visuals and performance take a bit of a hit when compared to the other consoles, but what about the other aspects of the game? I’m happy to report that pretty much everything else in the game feels like it should, with the campaign proving to be mighty satisfying, the soundtrack absolutely banging, and the general flow of pulling off tricks and combos super addictive. It feels EXACTLY like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 should. The only thing I can really nit-pick about is that the JoyCons can take some getting used to thanks to their smaller size when playing handheld, but like most games, it’s something players should adjust to quite quickly.
“It’s clear that Activision have put a lot of love into their ports on the console and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 sits up there with the best.”
Want to know what I struggled to adjust to? The long load times. As mentioned, I’ve been playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 on the PlayStation 5 lately where load times are almost non-existent, so having to do a fair bit of waiting here was a little annoying. They’re pretty lengthy by non-SSD standards too, so you might want to get comfortable when loading into levels.
Other than that, the Nintendo Switch manages to feel like a great home for the series. It’s clear that Activision have put a lot of love into their ports on the console and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 sits up there with the best, with the game still proving to be a HELL of a lot of fun to play. The console is obviously less powerful when compared to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, so the fact that it manages to still look great and feel so fun to play is commendable in itself.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is certainly an impressive port on the Nintendo Switch, even if it does take a hit in its visuals and performance. Playing at 30fps could feel a little jarring after enjoying it at a consistent 60fps though, whilst it’s clear that the environments lack detail when compared to its superior PlayStation counterparts. You know what, though? It doesn’t make the game any less fun to play and it still manages to look great.
It might not hit the spectacular visual heights of the PlayStation versions, but Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 still offers everything else that makes the game so much fun to play. The career is meaty and varied, the levels are incredibly well designed, whilst hitting those SICK combos is just as satisfying to do now as it was in the original PlayStation days. Add to that the fact you can play it on the go, and it becomes very clear that the Nintendo Switch offers a great way to experience this skateboarding masterpiece.
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
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