Tony Hawk, one of the early mainstream franchises that graced the mobile scene, is at it again with Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. The term American Wasteland appears to refer to Los Angeles as this is where the game takes place with players assuming the persona of an up and coming skater who has recently arrived in California. You can compete between three levels: Hollywood, Santa Monica and Skate Ranch.
The controls themselves are not hard to grasp. You start off with only one button to start an ollie and the direction buttons to control your on screen movement. Like most skating games since the invention of SSX and JSRF, your main goal is to start off with a trick and then continue to string them together before you fall off a railing or abort your mid-air sequence with a landing on a grassy knoll. As you progress through the game by racking up the requisite amount of points, you’ll unlock new tricks that will use the other numbers on your cell phone.
Unfortunately there are no other objectives in the game. There are only three stages and once you’ve unlocked the other tricks there’s no progression beyond that. The urban landscapes has enabled the designers to work in some of Los Angeles’ cityscape into the game. No doubt, a bid to have this game run on as many phones as possible has made the graphics move towards the simpler side of things. The animations of the skater, while fluid, are pretty basic. You can always have fluid animation if you’re only animating a few color rectangles.
That said those who are interested in a game of tricks (Project Gotham, SSX, Amped, etc.) will find chaining together combos fun. But for those folks, the game will be finished quickly. And those looking for more than this will find this game underwhelming. It remains to be seen who will do the next inevitable Tony Hawk game on wireless. American Wasteland made its debut on consoles and PCs under Activision and Jamdat, or now EA Mobile, picked up the wireless conversion no doubt in one of its last projects as an independent. You can’t even find the game at the Jamdat site now.