Hands on with Tony Hawk's Proving Ground on mobile
Another board game
If I had to get on a skateboard right now, there's a fair chance I'd be bum-over-head within minutes. This isn't just because age is now starting to get the better of me (though it is) but rather that I was never very good at managing to stay on my feet on a skateboard when I was a kid, either.
Bikes, yes. Even rollerskates I could last a good ten minutes on. But skateboards left me battered, bruised and with more than a few grazes from falling onto pathways and tarmaced drives. Then again, it's this complete ineptitude that apparently makes people like me perfectly suitable for Tony Hawk's latest mobile adventure. Yes, Proving Ground is about gradually building your skills up so you can take on rivals with confidence.
After a few minutes' play, it's clear that Tony Hawk's Proving Ground has its foundations firmly dug into the franchise's previous outings. Its format, for instance, follows the model cemented by Tony Hawk's Project 8 almost two years ago. On offer is both a Classic mode, which charges you with performing tricks to order to mount up a high score, and a Horse mode, which is essentially a two-player contest.
The former is all about your reaction time, with moves on your skateboard being pulled off by tapping in a combination of buttons flashed up on the screen in time. The points you're awarded are then multipled by an ever-increasing number the more tricks you manage to pull off in a row, meaning a faultless run is what you're aiming for. It's also possible to switch between different areas of each patch, meaning if you're not scoring very well on the half-pipe, you can choose to motor onto the rails instead, although doing so changes the tasks on offer somewhat, with staying on the rails also adding to the difficulty.
And this is a game that, during this first look at least, doesn't seem the easiest. Managing to tap in the keys in time is a challenge, and with progress being locked to hitting points targets on each level, this might be a game that offers up a tougher test than most on mobile – which may, in turn, entice those who've strolled through some of its rivals.
Those who find it a little too tricky will be pleased to hear that the Horse mode is a little more free and can be played with a friend. Essentially, the method of play is identical, except the only points target is the one your friend sets. Though officially a two-player mode, it may well be the case that those struggling on the main game will use this option to practise their skills on without the pressure of wild targets. Those who fit right in from the word go, however, will be pleased to know that Tony Hawk's Proving Ground also comes with a 'skate shop' that allows you to upgrade your abilities so you can score further points as you progress.
With striking visuals and a main game that looks like it'll be no pushover even for the quick-fingered amongst us, Proving Ground looks set to build on the talents of Tony Hawk's previous virtual exploits with some style. Look out for our full review by clicking 'Track it!' below.
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