Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 iPhone Impressions

After struggling with the touch-based controls of countless iPhone / iPod touch games, I'

After struggling with the touch-based controls of countless iPhone / iPod touch games, I'm pleased to report that those of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 are surprisingly functional.

Released via iTunes yesterday at $9.99, the port replicates the controls of its long-lost console brethren with an on-screen interface that's immediately familiar to returning veterans. And, for the most part, it worked pretty well once I got used to the lack of physical feedback, the inability to actually feel the buttons.

That's not to say the on-screen controls are perfect. I'm still getting use to tapping up then down (or vice versa) to pull off a manual--that's recognized more often than sliding your thumb up or down the d-pad, which I'm used to doing on a gamepad. That said, I still found the controls responsive enough to achieve Pro-level scores within a few runs.

Truth be told, the only real issue with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 iPhone is the framerate. On my iPhone 3G, the framerate fluctuates from smooth to a chuggy slideshow, and that slowdown tends to occur at the worst possible times, such as when I'm in the air or in the midst of a nice combo. Perhaps it's not that big of problem on the beefier iPhone 3GS and newer models of the iPod touch, but I can't say for sure as I don't own any of those.

Some other annoyances crop up--the menus don't always recognize my taps and swipes, my thumbs sometimes obstruct my view of the area, the soundtrack is different and there's no way to listen to one's own tunes in-game--but the framerate is the big one.

But even with the framerate woes, I keep going back for just one more run. Quite simply, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 is my favorite entry in the series, so to have a fairly competent rendition of it on me at all times was, at least in my view, well worth the $9.99.

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