Back when the Game Boy Advance first released in 2001, one of the most impressive games on the system was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. The world was still in the grips of Hawkamania, and while most other GBA launch titles looked like souped-up Super Nintendo games, THPS2 was a 3D game that was incredibly faithful to the original version. Twenty years later, we’re getting The Ramp, a stripped-down skating game that recalls the bad old days of isometric skating minus the hassles of AA batteries and a poorly-lit screen.
The Ramp isn’t a fully-fledged Tony Hawk killer, though — it’s very particular in its ambitions. Developer Hyperparadise sums it up as offering “the 15 minutes of flow that make a boring day great, at the price of a medium sized cinnamon pistachio latte to go.” It’s a vert-focused experience, all about the rhythm of rolling down a halfpipe and busting out out a trick then sliding back down to do it again. There’s no unlockable content, no vast worlds to explore, not even a score to keep track of. In a sense, then, it’s more of a “digital toy” — in the developer’s words — than a game.
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Sometimes, though, that’s all you need. I’m a sucker for well-made little simulations like The Ramp, the kinds of tight little physics-based games we used to find on Flash sites in computer class and proceed to waste hours on. I’m excited to check it out and recapture some of those Y2K vibes when it releases on August 3.