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The Tony Hawk’s series has been receiving a growing amount of criticism in recent years due to what many see as the complete lack of innovation, and like many sport franchises the newest releases of Tony Hawk’s seem to be nothing more than a bigger version of the games that have come before, except with better graphics this time. But withNintendo’s new innovative console Toy’s for Bob are going to take a risk with the skating series and create something that will break the mold from the older games.

From the title of the game it is clear that this time there isn’t going to be an awful lot of the game dedicated the skateboarding on flat land, instead the Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam is far more like a snowboarding game than anything seen in the series before hand. The objective is to get to the bottom of the hill as fast as possible. This may sound very dull, and racing down a hill on a skateboard doesn’t exactly sound like great fun when translated into a game, but Toy’s for Bob have added enough to the racing part to make this exciting. To beat your opponents you’ll need to do tricks to get yourself speed boosts to overtake them, obviously these aren’t going to be massive elaborate combos you’ll be pulling off, but due to the speed you’ll be travelling at even some of the simplest of tricks will prove near impossible at times. You will also be able to hit and try and knock your opposing racers off their boards through a variety of moves. If neither of the previous two options seem like your style you could always try and find shortcuts through the levels to get to the finish line long before the rest.

Obviously with an new innovative game on a new innovative console the control scheme has been completely revamped, and you will be controlling your skater in a similar way to controlling your truck in Excite Truck. Holding theWiiMote in a horizontal position, you’ll steer them left and right by tilting the controller left and right, and in the same way you can keep your balance when manualling or grinding. Tilting forwards and backwards will result in your racer leaning in the same way to get the advantage by cutting down air resistance and speeding up. Jumping and performing tricks will still be controlled by pressing buttons, but we imagine using motion sensing for the tricks as well could prove to become very tricky. It seems that in early preview copies of the game there have been issues regarding the sensitivity of theWiiMote as a control method, but it seems that by the time Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam is released Toy’s for Bob will have sorted these issues out.

The game will see you racing down hills in 8 real world locations from the obvious, San Francisco, to the more obscure, Hong Kong. And in these areas there will obviously be lots of conveniently shaped scenery that will work well for a whole variety of tricks. Also littering the race tracks will be pedestrians and obstacles that will make the race a lot harder to complete at times. The graphics do look good, but as expected of manyWii games they aren’t anything special.

All the normal features from a Tony Hawk’s game are included, like Create-A-Skater, were you’ll be able to make a skater in your likeness. Obviously there is going to be a multiplayer mode, which has always been one of the best features in the Tony Hawk’s series and from the looks of it this mode will not disappoint in this game either. With a few friends over this looks as though it could be even more fun than the normal Tony Hawk’s offering, as you all try your hardest to get down to the bottom of the hill as fast as possible.

Although it looks as though this is set to be another thoroughly enjoyable outing for the ageing skater, it is unlikely that many people will still be playing this in six months time. It lacks any real substance to keep gamers coming back to it time and time again will probably be traded in onceNintendo’s second wave of first party titles comes out early next year, but in the mean time it will still be enjoyed by many in between sessions of the bigger launch titles like Red Steel and Twilight Princess.

Anticipation Rating: ★★★½☆