Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tony Hawks Project 8

Infospace now's got the rights to take Tony Hawk's Project 8, the latest extreme skateboarding sim from Activision, to mobile. Previous mobile incarnations of the very long-running (or should that be long-skating?) series have been done by Jamdat. That was probably not an option for Project 8, as Jamdat is today owned by Electronic Arts, Activision's big rival.
In previous mobile Tony Hawk titles you had to ride a course while performing enough tricks to gain respect as a pro skater. Much like most extreme skating/biking games, it required a relatively high degree of skill to coordinate speed, position and acrobatics on the mobile's crowded keypad. Infospace (or Activision itself) decided to take a different approach with Tony Hawk's Project 8, making it a more casual, mass market kind of title by implementing a one-thumb gameplay, with only the directional controls needed for play.
The new Tony for phones seems to be based on a rhythm game principle, where you have only to time your presses in response to visual cues. successfuly doing so will result in your skater avatar doing some impossible things in the air and even landing on his feet and not his head afterwards.
This type of game tends to be easy to get into, naturally, and also fun if done right. We've had our share of derivative rhythm games, however, so here's hoping Infospace does things at least a little differently to keep the experience fresh, and does not attempt to rely solely on the brand. The Tony Hawk series as a whole has suffered those last years by cloning itself to death (evidenced by a 75 percent average rating for most console versions of Project 8 ), but I'll forgive and forget if some innovation finds its way at least into the humble mobile version.
The graphic style, at least, won't be boring, with a seriously surreal graffiti look driving home the urban coolness message.

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