Tony Hawk put his name on some of the most beloved sports games of all time, but the franchise recently hit a rut, and the new mobile game Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is meant to bring it back to life. Along with a classic Career mode as seen in the series' older games, it will feature a new Skate Jam mode that lets you compete online with other players, among other features. Players can create their own skaters, compete globally with other players, and explore over 15 different parks, each of which has their own tournament. The game is now available for pre-registry on the Google Play Store.
Background: Like older Tony Hawk titles, this one was worked on by The Birdman himself. Tony Hawk helped to optimize some of the tricks and the feel of the game in order to make sure that everything was accurate to his own tricks and those he's observed other pros doing, as well as technically accurate in the sense that it closely imitates real skating. He even went as far as hand-picking some entries in the game's soundtrack, which means that fans of the older games' blends of rock, ska punk and rap can likely expect more of the same. As to the gameplay, it's the same Tony Hawk's Pro Skater action as always, but with controls reformatted for mobile devices. There are three different disciplines to explore, including street, vert, and park. Do well in a run to build up your Hawk Meter; when it's full, you'll temporarily turn into Tony Hawk, boosting your stats and score. You'll eventually be able to unlock him, along with a number of outfits he's worn throughout his career. As to microtransactions, players will be able to buy boosts that make life easier for them while skating, and can subscribe to save on recurring boosts and other bonuses.
Impact: This game is being billed as a return to form for the franchise, and it's quite crucial at this point that the game delivers. The lukewarm reception to the glitchy, relatively anemic Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 not long ago took the series out of the limelight, and burned many fans who expected better from the beloved property. There have been plenty of spin-off games with specific niches since the well-received Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, such as the rags-to-riches Tony Hawk's Underground series or the highly experimental Tony Hawk's Project 8, which perhaps cleaved the closest to the classics in terms of overall design. Should this game do well, we could be looking at a full-on resurgence of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, with sights set squarely on uniting old and new fans. Indeed, a game like this making a buck and becoming a household name will show genuine interest in continuing the franchise where it left off. Consumers taking a hard pass on this entry will send the team back to the drawing board at best, though there is the possibility that it could mean the complete and final death of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, which almost certainly would see Birdman moving on to tackle other projects.