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Review

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 (Switch) Review

When game franchises go astray, sometimes the only way for them to right the ship is to go back to what worked and give it a refresh. The Tony Hawk series fits the bill perfectly. For every game in the series you remember, there’s another 2-3 crammed in between. In 2020 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 rose like a phoenix and reminded longtime fans why they used to enjoy the series in the first place. Now it’s 2021; it’s finally time for the Switch to get its turn to crank up the Rage Against the Machine and skate.

Docked Screenshot

While it’s been a while since the first two Pro Skater games came skating into our hearts, the series has come and gone. Pro Skater 1 + 2 takes you back to where it all began, racking up big point combos as you skate around stages, aiming for high scores, collecting S-K-A-T-E and finding the elusive hidden tape. Each stage gives you a checklist of goals to complete that go towards unlocking the next area. This remake retains what made the original games fun to play whether you’re returning after a Pro Skater sabbatical or new to the series. Not to rest on their laurels, the remake also brings some improvements from other games in the series, making combos and moving around the stages feel even better.

Docked Screenshot

Given this is a remake of the first two games, you’ll find the skaters have returned. Tony Hawk is, of course, here, aged to reflect the never-ending march of time. He is joined by the original skaters from the first two games, also aged to current times, as you make them do skate tricks for your amusement. Some skaters are returning from later entries, including Tony Hawk’s son Riley Hawk, and newer skaters including Leo Baker and Tyshawn Jones, amongst others. The new additions bring in some fresh faces and some always-appreciated inclusion, providing a much more diverse roster to select from.

If you prefer to focus your time and upgrade points on a custom-built skater, then the create-a-skater option is for you. There might not be extensive options, but as you progress through and tick goals from each stage’s list, you’ll get the cash to splash on new clothing and boards.

Docked Screenshot

Returning to the classic stages from these games quickly becomes an existential glimpse into how long ago it was when you played them the first time. They’ve all been remade to look much nicer than the PS1/N64/DC originals, with some extra flourish added in. For example, some of the stages have aged along with us, it would seem, with the Shopping Mall looking as run down as most of us are feeling this year. I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about all of the visual changes; it’s a cool design choice while retaining the layout and look of the original. Just don’t expect everything to look as it was in the originals.

Docked Screenshot

While I played a lot of the first two games, the one I truly sunk the most time into was the GBA port of Pro Skater 2. Skating back through those stages, it turns out that even outside of that port’s isometric view, I still remember many of the layouts. The layouts all feel instantly familiar, only with the benefits of skate moves that weren’t originally present in 1 and 2 make moving around in these spaces even better.

The soundtracks were also fondly remembered elements that feel core to the series. It would’ve been strange to go back to these stages without Goldfinger’s ‘Superman’ or the radio edit of Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Guerilla Radio’. Almost all of the songs made it back while also bringing along even more new music to help keep the beats fresh. They’ve done an excellent job keeping the new music consistent with the vibe of the originals. Now we just have to hope for Mot√∂rhead’s ‘Ace of Spades’ if we ever get a THPS3 remake.

Handheld Screenshot

I always found button mashing will only get me so far in the Pro Skater games. Eventually, I would have to learn what I was doing. There are assists available if you want to toggle perfect balance, grinding or no bailing. These are great if you want to enjoy skating around and unlocking stages quicker.

Once you’ve exhausted both game’s levels, you can always create a park of your own. This is available at any time, although to get access to more objects, you’ll need to hit certain levels. I didn’t spend much time within this mode. If you are willing to put some time in, you can make a wild skate park to unleash your skate tricks on.

Handheld Screenshot

Pro Skater runs nicely; it always felt like it was running smoothly at a pretty solid 30fps. It, of course, won’t look as refined as the other versions, especially when there are next-gen upgrades just out. If you’ve played on the other consoles, you might notice detail missing and the usual Switch downgrades, although it never bothered me. If you want the fancy 4K visuals, then you might be looking at the wrong version..or console. Some of the loads are longer, although never too long. We’ve seen Activision port a bunch of their games over to the Switch now. Pro Skater is another solid port.

Handheld Screenshot

While Pro Skater is a great remake of the original two games, the biggest disappointment is once again having to wait so long for another Activision port to make it to the Switch finally. There might need to be extra work done to make it play as well as it does on the aging hardware, but they’re always announced much later. It’s a practice that casts a shadow over the Switch releases of these games, which is a shame because each one of them has been pretty good. One issue I had within the game was the online integration meant every time I opened up the game, I’d cop an email from Activision letting me know I accessed my account from the game. Only it did this even when just reconnecting online after bringing it out of sleep mode. One time I had four emails letting me know.


Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a great remake, made even better by being on the Switch. While the skaters and stages may have aged, they’ve still got it. Hopefully, this is the game to revitalise the Tony Hawk games; even some more remakes would be excellent. With Vicarious Visions now working on other projects, hopefully, Activision can keep the momentum going and usher in a new era of great Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. It might’ve been a wait, but the Switch is the best way to sneak in another run.

Rating: 4.5/5

The Good

+ Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2 are still great arcade skaters
+ Really solid port
+ Updated controls from newer games

The Bad

- Had to wait nearly a year
- Load times a little longer

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Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is a great remake, made even better by being on the Switch. While the skaters and stages may have aged, they've still got it. Hopefully, this is the game to revitalise the Tony Hawk games; even some more remakes would be excellent. With Vicarious Visions now working on other projects, hopefully, Activision can keep the momentum going and usher in a new era of great Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. It might've been a wait, but the Switch is the best way to sneak in another run.

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About The Author
Paul Roberts
Lego enthusiast, Picross Master and appreciator of games.

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