When we were kids, my cousin and I used to play Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on his PlayStation 1. Having said that, I have lots of pleasant memories when it comes to this game. Yet, I also remember that it required a LOT of coordination and understanding of the way the game worked. Since I have started skateboarding myself, I'm aware of the incredible amount of precision that these moves actually demand. Well, with this awareness in mind, my appreciation for this series has even increased. Last year brought us a full-fleshed remake of THPS 1+2 on PC, PlayStation and Xbox, now Switch-owners can finally join the fun.
It goes without saying that this port doesn't give you the same performance as the PS4 and Xbox One equivalents. This becomes noticeable in several ways: The slow system-memory causes pretty long loading times whenever a level is being loaded. The washed-out textures are loading too slowly, which undermines one of the central updates of these remakes, the aspect of character customisation. During the game, our accomplishments will lead to some money in our virtual pockets. While it's a weird feature concerning the original skater-mentality, the game wants us to spend our money on overpriced clothes for our skater. As the console keeps on re-loading, customising your character can be quite nerve-wrecking, and requires a lot more time than it did in the previous remakes. Unfortunately, this also makes in-game-challenges less interesting.
The small buttons and sticks also differ from previous experiences - particularly, if you're interested in spending a lot of time with the hand-held mode. This time, my cousin and I failed when it came to sick high-scores from the get-go. Fortunately, we were able to finish the stages without too much hassle, and managed to combine some nice moves. While it's probably possible to get used to the Joy-Con controls, precisely moving its small sticks into eight directions can be tricky. Trying to extend your combos by transitioning from a revert into a manual and keeping your balance until you have reached a ramp, primarily requires the left stick of your controller. Grab-moves and Flip-tricks also require using the left stick wile pressing an associated button. If you're dexterous or using a pro controller, you'll figure it out.
When it comes to the actual game, not much has changed. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 offers 15 stages for your skater to prove your skills with loads of cool combos and tricks. Each level comes with several tasks, including the hunt for high-scores, finding collectibles or performing specific moves. It's also possible to locally play together with other Switch consoles. The game's split-screen mode uses a pretty low resolution, yet it runs surprisingly fluent - even when you're in hand-held mode. Another feature is an online multiplayer-mode with a leaderboard.
Even with the lower resolution of this port in mind, it becomes obvious that Vicarious Visions have put lots of details into the recreation of iconic THPS stages. Many maps might not be too spectacular, however, usually, each level contains at least one cool gimmick to discover, some of them being dynamic elements. To give you an example: When you're skating though the famous hangar map, and grind on the rotor blades of a helicopter, the helicopter takes off, and destroys a roof.
Not even dynamic features like that make Nintendo's console surrender. While some frames get lost here and there, the port's frame-rate (30 fps) is sufficiently fluent. Even though my cousin hasn't played these games in a long time, even he noticed that the new versions run a lot faster than the original games. Speaking of old times: Fortunately, a lot of the songs from the original games have returned to get you back into the perfect skating mood. Additionally, you'll also find a few new artists on the soundtrack.
Obviously, the Switch port of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is not on the same technical level as its contenders on PC and other consoles. However, there are more important things. I took my console to a family birthday, got a hold of my cousin (who is a father by now) and loaded up the game. Both of us appreciate that we felt like we temporarily returned to our childhood. No visual draw-backs can take this feeling from us.