Friday 28 August 2015

Snowboard Kids (N64 review)

Developer: Racdym
Publisher: Atlus
Released: 1997

Snowboard Kids is a weapons-based racing game that was later released on the PlayStation (1999).

There's three modes with the main one being Battle Race which supports up to five players. To start with only six courses are available but more can be unlocked as you progress. Each race has coins to collect and you'll need these to access the shop icons around the courses. Red ones have shots in them that you can fire (i.e. Bombs) while blue ones have more defensive items (i.e. Rocks). None are overly interesting and Pan is especially cheap as it drops onto every other racer. Your items can even hurt you if you bump into your downed opponent which is a poor design decision. It takes forever to recover when you're hit and you nearly always go from first to last regardless of how far ahead you were. Each time you finish a lap you enter a ski-lift that takes you back to the top and breaks up the gameplay in an unnecessary fashion. The gate to board the lift is very small and you need to be perfectly lined up otherwise you'll get knocked down. Only one racer is allowed through at a time so if you're bunched together chances are you'll be thrown backwards and temporarily be stunned. The courses are also bland with little variety and take forever to complete. Time Attack mode allows you to race on any unlocked course against the clock. Skill Game is divided up into three mini-modes; Speed (cross the finish line before the timer runs out), Shoot (hit as many snowmen as possible in one run) and Trick (perform tricks to gain cash). These are all much more fun than the actual racing and I wish this Mission-type mode was a bigger part of the game.

Snowboard Kids is a mediocre title with decent ideas but horribly annoying gameplay. Both the racing and weapons-based combat are dull and although I usually love these types of games I found myself getting repeatedly frustrated rather than having fun.

Random trivia: A sequel called Snowboard Kids 2 was released exclusively on the Nintendo 64 in 1999.

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