8.7 from IGN
When Activision revealed earlier this year that the next Tony Hawk DS title would be a trick-based racing game, I'll freely admit I was ready to write off the concept right then and there. Tony Hawk has always been about its open worlds and finding the best lines and objects to grind off of, and turning the design into a forward rolling SSX-inspired racing design could potentially stray the series away from what made it so great from the start.
Playing it completely squashed my initial fears -- Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam is an extremely fun Nintendo DS racer with all of the familiar Tony Hawk progression and challenge, but presented in a whole new way. The game is fast, furious, and fun as hell, even if the racing focus limits the world exploration. The online component in the game easily makes Tony Hawk one of the deepest multiplayer titles on the system, even if we're still stuck in Nintendo's restrictive network -- it lacks a lobby system to find games easily, but once you're in the game runs great and features an in-game voice chat option that's admittedly a bit limited but still damn cool to use.
Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam has enough of the right stuff to continue on as its own franchise, but I'd be lying if I said that it's a better concept than the original open world, go-anywhere Pro Skater/Underground/American Sk8land designs. The racing game is excellent even with its slight restrictions -- the designers have explored the core idea to give it a fantastic amount of variety. It's really great stuff that'll appeal to racing fans and skateboarding nuts.
IGN Ratings for Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (DS)
out of 10 click here for ratings guide
Incredibly full-featured single and multiplayer components, really good online support with voice chat function, and some of the deepest user customization features seen yet on DS.
The American Sk8land 3D engine and visual style returns for this downhill run. It still looks fantastic on the DS system, even with the occasional pop glitch.
Rockin' soundtrack with 15 understandably compressed licensed tunes. Spoken dialogue for all of the cutscenes, and it's the first DS game to support voice chat during gameplay.
Really good racing design that's a little easy in normal mode, but a real challenge in hard. Multiplayer is slightly misbalanced that favors players who max out their Create-a-Skater stats.
9.0 Lasting Appeal
Get your DS online because this one really pushes the online component. Four players online and off. Full stat tracking via PC web access, too.
(out of 10 / not an average)
Sounds pretty damn good! Only 6 courses though, that is a bit of a turn off for sure.