You begin Downhill Jam
by creating your own user-created character. For a handheld title, there are a number of options. You can choose between several clothing types, hair-styles and boards. The Create-a-Deck option found in last year’s American Sk8land
is back and has been expanded to allow you to design your own clothing patterns.
After creating your character, it is on to the game. Once again you join Tony Hawk as he travels the world in search of skaters to join his team. It seems that Tony is tired of the skate circuit and has decided to get back to downhill races. Upon his return to San Francisco, Tony is approached by his old 80’s rival and challenged to a race. From here you move through six locales and challenge other racers in downhill races.
Six courses may not sound like a lot, but Vicarious Visions has actually packed each course with a number of tasks that extend the time spent at each location. Pacing is similar to other Tony Hawk games where you must complete specific tasks in each course. One course may have you grinding on streetcar rails, while another has you simply trying to come in first in a race. Some races even require accumulating a certain number of trick points during the course. Racing may be a big part of the game, but it isn’t all there is.
Downhill Jam expands on the great multiplayer options found American Sk8land. Several multiplayer modes are available and run nearly lag free. The number of players per match has been upped to four. You can also use the DS’s built-in microphone to chat with other players and even check out a special website for tracking your in-game progress. About the only thing missing is an easy way to connect with friends.