Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Republic of Skate - American Sk8land

Acid Drop, Varial Kickflip, 540 Melon, Tail Grab, Spine Transfer. For the uninitiated, Nine Over Ten 9/10 hasn't gone gibberish, and instead, it welcomes you to Tony Hawk's American Sk8land!

This Nintendo DS title is actually quite old, by virtue of being released back in 2005. Being the first Tony Hawk title, and perhaps the first skateboarding game on the DS, Sk8land can still hold its own against other, newer games on the DS. You would be better off purchasing this off the bargain bin then getting, say, Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles.

The premise of the game's Story Mode is pretty simple, as you might expect from any other skate (or snow boarding) game. Start of by customizing and naming your character and in no time the game will drop you in the first of 7 maps/levels.

The thing I like about Sk8land is that you get down to business quickly. What business am I talking about? It's the business of SKATING and doing tricks all around the rather big map. And not forgetting the great cell-shaded graphics, reminiscent of Jet Set Radio (Sega Dreamcast), compliment the gameplay really well.

The level of freedom is not unprecedented, given the fact that Animal Crossing allows the same thing too, but Sk8land has more in common with Grand Theft Auto. You skate around, performing tricks and you can approach any of the NPCs populating a level, and they will pay cash if you complete their challenges.

What's the cash used for? Well, to build your very own skate park of course. Known as the Warehouse, you'll be spending your hard-earned cash buying elaborate ramps, jumps and the like to transform it into some sort of skating wonderland.

In Classic mode, you are given two minutes to complete 10 goals in each of the map. Nothing better than to let lose and see what you can get within 120 seconds. You can then upload your replays online!

Rounding up the skate modes is the Free Skate mode. The name just says it all.

Sk8land was one of the first non-Nintendo titles to offer a WFC connectivity. As mentioned earlier, you can upload your replays online but do you know that Sk8land has several more tricks up its sleeve? You can get onto an online match with a friend or have a random opponent. You can also download custom art, view pro and rookie scoreboards for players connected to the WFC service!

I got this game purely for the skating action, but it turns out that I got more game than what my money's worth! So if you are looking at a bargain bin in a game store near you, be sure to look out for this game.