Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam
gives you a set of skaters who, along with Tony Hawk, compete in downhill trick and racing competitions. Each skater, whose personalities range from a stoner to a rich socialite, has five stats that give each their own unique handling. One may be faster, though another is better at tricks. The system is basic, though anything more would just make things complicated for the sake of being complicated.
Racing is a major element in Downhill Jam, though you will also compete in a variety of other events as you progress through the game. Score events require that you meet a certain score before the end of the race and Slalom plays like a checkpoint race. Split-screen multiplayer is also around and includes all of the single-player event types and a new one that has skaters battling over who has a head. Whoever holds the head the longest before the end of the race is declared the winner.
Every track in the game is primarily a downhill race to the finish, though there are several ways to reach the bottom. Rather than taking a sharp turn, you may instead decide to ride a rail, giving you a little added boost. You can also cut through sections of the track and unlock new shortcuts. The downside to all the different paths is that some tracks can get confusing. It is not uncommon to completely lose your bearings and end up skating in the wrong direction or taking another shortcut that ends up putting you behind the pack. There are indicators that attempt to keep you on track, though they take a couple of seconds to kick in. Tracks are especially hard to navigate when playing split-screen.
The new events involve collecting money or airtime as well as doing as much damage to the tracks (and opponents) as possible. Except for the few split-screen difficulties, multiplayer is fun. The lack of online multiplayer is disappointing, especially since Downhill Jam is perfect for multiplayer games.