Has watching the Vancouver Winter Olympics inspired the inner snowboarder within you? If so, X2 Games has the answer for you with their recently released X2 Snowboarding. Shred your way down the mountain on your way to unlocking a total of 6 mountains with your 6 snowboarders. Each snowboarder is from 6 different countries and their accent, language and appearance all reflect their countries.
Each boarder will have their own strengths and weaknesses as well, so choose wisely. They each seem to be mismatched on stats however and one that is very strong in speed will be very weak in, for example, ability to get big air. You will soon find your favorite that suits your playing style but it might take a little experimentation to do this.
Not only do each of the 6 snowboarders have a unique personality, each of the 6 mountains have nuances of their own as well. Whether its dodging trees, jumping ice cliffs, or partying in the local hot spots, each will pull you into their unique atmosphere.
You also have the choice of freestyle, race and trick race events on each mountain.
Visual Presentation: The cell shaded graphics are top notch and really draw you into the game. Each characters unique personality is also reflected in their outfits and their boards. The different mountains each have a unique feel and its definitely not just a re-skinned clone to pad the variety of choices.
Replays: Not only can you save and watch your best runs; but didn’t get the air you thought? Simply rewind the game clock and try it again! A neat feature is being able to actually slow down time so you can perfect your tricks. A scrapbook takes photos of your best tricks.
Background music: Sick of your iTunes playlist? If you don’t feel like listening to your own music, there is a wide variety of in game music by Tru Thoughts recordings and features Quantic, Bonobo & Mr Scruff (the last a remix made famous in Rolando.)
Customization: From the mountains you can unlock, to the Salomon boards, to the many characters you have to choose from, customization is high.
Touch Controls: While the accelerometer is quite fluid, many of the games key controls are hard to access. Tapping to jump is sometimes non-responsive. Holding the board with your left or right finger to perform tricks and grabs is clumsy and also sometimes non-responsive. Though the game calibrates from your favorite position at the start, calibration does not seem to hold true. The ever important gold coins required to unlock mountains and new boards seem a bit out of reach of your jumps, even when you think you have timed it perfectly. Big tricks are only possible if you can manage big air, and flipping or switching your iDevice feels pretty awkward and not intuitive.
Multiplayer: This game screams for the ability to have online multiplayer capability. Though it offers local wifi and bluetooth, the online races, especially now during the Olympics would make a huge difference in its replayability.
Orientation: The game features plenty of half pipes on which you want to rack up trick points. However due to the twisting nature of the tricks, you can lose your orientation quite easily and find yourself snowboarding uphill. As you can imagine this hurts you tremendously. As found in many racing games, a simple directional arrow could help re- orient yourself to go back down the mountain. Going out of bounds triggers all kinds of lights and flashing and the penalty brings you back a bit on the course.
Interface: It took me a few times to figure out how to find the mountain selection screen and the snowboard shop. Assuming I just needed to gather more coins to unlock these features, I stumbled upon swiping the screen to find these selection screens. Some instruction how to get passed the player selection screen would be welcome to fully see the features available to you.
While the app store lacks a fully featured snowboarding game, X2 Snowboarding, even with its faults may be the closest thing available at the current time. If you find yourself yearning to get out on the mountain while you watch the best in the world, this game is definitely worth a look to satisfy your extreme side, while keeping your body parts intact.