Tony Hawk skates onto the iPhone

But is it worth $10? If you're a rabid fan of the original Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, I'd say yes. Newcomers might get frustrated by the controls and lack of instructions.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
If you can master the onscreen controls, you should find THPS2 an enjoyable skate down memory lane. Activision

Believe it or not, there is some game news this week that doesn't involve the iPad. Activision's console classic Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The game looks and plays much like its 10-year-old PlayStation precursor--with, I'm sorry to say, similarly chunky graphics and a rather muted color palette.

But you know what? Those things won't matter to THPS2 fans (whose numbers are legion), because the iPhone port delivers the same kind of freewheeling fun as the original.

You can hit the 'boards as the titular legend or one of a dozen other pros, skating your way from the classic warehouse level to 13 other locales. Of course, you'll need to perform tricks, complete various goals, and, ultimately, earn enough points to unlock subsequent levels.

That's all part of the game's career mode, though there's also a free-skate option if you're just learning the ropes (make that rails).


As for the controls, you can rely on the accelerometers or an onscreen D-pad to steer your skater. But with either configuration, you'll still use onscreen buttons for the four basic trick maneuvers: flip, grind, grab, and ollie.

Make no mistake: these are no substitute for a physical controller, and I think they can make for a frustrating experience.

What's more, newcomers should take note: THPS2 comes with no instructions to speak of, nor any in-game tutorials. As a relative newcomer myself (I played a little Tony Hawk back in the day, but was never a giant fan), I couldn't figure out how to build enough speed to perform, say, a flip without ending in a face-plant.

What's more, I found the game rather claustrophobic on my iPhone screen. THPS2 all but begs to be played on an iPad. However, though I fully expect that Activision will release an iPad-optimized version at some point, for now the game is categorically an iPhone/Touch title.

And a pricey one, at that. THPS2 sells for $9.99, though it's a safe bet Activision will drop the price before long. That's been the case with virtually every high-profile game like this one.

Will you wait, or is the lure of Tony Hawk made mobile too strong to resist? While you're mulling that over, be sure to check out these other console classics for the iPhone: Driver, Earthworm Jim, Resident Evil 4, and Rock Band.