Thursday, February 11, 2010

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Review: Tony Hawk RIDE (for Nintendo Wii)

One of the main reasons we purchased a Wii console was to give the family opportunities to stay active in the winter when it's too cold out, as well as in the summer when it's too hot and humid to play outside. This interactive skateboard game for the Nintendo Wii offers more of a workout than you can imagine. Similar to a real skateboard or caster board, Tony Hawk: RIDE requires quite a bit of balance and coordination to play.

What my family thought about Tony Hawk RIDE for the Wii:

1) Along with the motion sensing skateboard controller, this package comes with the game, Velcro for the use of the board on uncarpeted surfaces, a receiver, and 4-AA batteries. Love that the game comes with batteries so that there is nothing to stop the player from getting started right away after opening the package.

2) I suggest you keep the cardboard box because it is perfect for storing your board when not in use.

3) At first we were concerned that the cord on the receiver was so short, but it turns out that the receiver can be placed anywhere and does not need to be in plain view of the skateboard.

4) The skateboard itself is a controller that has all the major buttons just like on the Wii remote. The "+" button is separated and made to be extra large so that the player can tap it with their toe. My husband thinks it is easier to just hold the Wii remote in one hand than to use any of the other buttons on side of the skateboard.

5) There are sensors at the center of all four sides of the skateboard remote. Although it is not likely to be a problem for most people, if you take an 11 size men's shoe or larger, you need to be careful how you stand on the board because parts of your feet may cover the sensors. If this is the case for you, then you will need to train yourself to stand in a way that may not necessarily feel natural to you at first.

6) The bottom of the board is basically flat. You really need to put your weight near the edges to make the board tip the way you would like it to. Although this board can be used with bare feet, your feet really take a beating if you are playing for a long time. I think skateboarding shoes or any other flat bottom athletic shoe would work best.

7) This board controller and the game does an excellent job of simulating skateboarding overall. Having ridden a skateboard when he was younger, my husband thinks this game is just as fun and just as physical as riding the real thing.

Please take a few minutes to watch this game in action . . .

8) Although this game is recommended for 10+ because of song lyrics and animated blood, a younger child is physically capable of using this board. We just turned down the sound so we wouldn't have to worry about our 6yr old son making out any inappropriate lyrics. We also have yet to see any blood, but I'm sure we will eventually. Our son likes to stay in the beginner's area.

9) The main difference between an adult and a smaller child playing is that the child's movements need to be much greater than the adults. My husband only needs to lean, shift his weight, or take a half step to effect the board. Our 6yr old needs to take larger steps on top of leaning and shifting his weight to tip the board in one direction.

10) As I had previously pointed out, this board comes with large strips of Velcro to adhere to the bottom of the board in order to have some traction when using it on a smooth surface. We found it to be easier just to move our small area rug in front of the television when we want to play this particular game. I would be worried that the Velcro would eventually not stick well or may collect everything from dust to pet hair and would need to be replaced frequently.

11) The most basic movements, like tipping the board forward and backward, are extremely easy to master. Because the board's sensors are so sensitive, they pick up the most subtle movements. For this reason, it makes it more difficult to master the more advanced tricks because the difference of movement between one trick and another is extremely small.

12) Another advantage of being a 6ft adult over a small child is that my husband can touch the ceiling with his long arms and instinctively does so when he feels like he may lose his balance.

13) Although our son can perform a small handful of tricks, most of the tricks he does are by accident. This is perfectly fine with him. He is not thinking ahead or using any strategy. He is just having fun. The more advanced use will come in time.

You can find Tony Hawk: RIDE for the Wii, XBOX 360, and Playstation 3 at most major retailers of console games, such as GameStop,, Toys R Us, Best Buy, and Walmart. Although the game retails for $119.99, you can find it on sale for as low as $79.99 . I think it is well-worth the price, especially if you have more than one person in your household who will be enjoying the fun physical activity of this game.

Thank you to M80 for providing information about this game and for sending us a sample free of charge on behalf of Activision to base this review upon.