You don't have to look very hard to find a new Tony Hawk game these days. While the venerable skating series used to be fit only for consoles, these days, if it's possible to play a game on it, you're more than likely going to find a Tony Hawk game for it. The Nintendo DS is no exception: Hot on the heels of last year's Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam for the DS comes the handheld version of this year's Tony Hawk installment: Proving Ground. We recently had a chance to see a brief demo of this handheld skating game and to see how ripping it up on four wheels translates to two screens.
Game modes in Proving Ground include classic, story, free skate, and lessons. Classic mode is your standard pick-up-and-play mode, and it's returning to the DS after a one-year absence with Downhill Jam. The story mode has you starting out in Philadelphia as you try to get your skills noticed and make a name for yourself. Free skate will allow you to practice your various skating stunts without the restriction of a timer, while lessons will teach you the different controls in the game.
The console versions of Proving Ground will once again include a flexible "nail the trick" control scheme. For the DS version, you'll be able to pull off "gesture tricks," which will have you drawing on the touch screen to perform various tricks while in the air. By launching off various spots on the map, you'll be able to perform special tricks that will earn you more points in the process. As you progress through the game, you'll be able to unlock new gear and new moves, such as the aggo-kick (which gives you a burst of speed when you press the Y button). You'll also be able to unlock new spots on the map to pull off specials.
The developers behind the DS version of Proving Ground have created a big world in which to skate. If you play the console version of the game, you might recognize some of the familiar spots in the handheld game, such as the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. To help you navigate around the areas, you'll need to make consistent use of the minimap, which will give you useful assists, such as pointing out where objects are during collection missions.
As with the other versions of Proving Ground, the DS game will include plenty of different missions to keep you busy, including missions specifically geared for the hardcore player. We'll be keeping you up to date with the latest on the game in the weeks leading up to its release, so stay tuned.