Fans of snowboard games, who used to beat the crap out of Cool Boarders on their original PlayStation back in the 90s, had to come a long way to get another masterpiece of their favorite genre. Despite the fact that, in the meantime, many skateboarding games came out (titles like Session, Tony Hawk series, etc.), snowboarders still had to stick to the old-school library. And finally, the day of retribution has come to fruition as Foam Punch develops its very own snowboard simulator, Shredders (available on Xbox consoles and PC).
The story revolves around a yet unknown snowboarder who, along with his buddy Scotty, is constantly on the lookout for some new thrills in Frozen Wood and its areas. Then they come across Lisa, an employee of a fictional snowboard-related company named 540 Indy. Thanks to that encounter, their career gets a boost.
The story includes over 40 missions and ends with a cross-country derby. On your way, you’re gonna meet some real-life professionals, such as Jamie Anderson, Zeb Powell, Sebbe De Buck, and Marcus Cleveland, who took part in the Winter Olympics. However, you only get to hear their voices; their faces are hidden beneath ski masks and goggles. During missions, they explain tricks and keep you company on the slopes.
A single mission consists of the main task and two optional challenges. For instance, your main task could be to follow one your mates, and the optional challenge would be to grind a certain rail and score some points. Most of the times, the main task isn’t particularly difficult, and there’s no star based scoring system, you just do what you’re supposed to, and then jump to the next mission.
As for the controls, which are crucial for any sports game, you steer the snowboarder using the left analog stick, and the board is to be controlled with the right one. Pressing the right trigger does jumps, whereas the left one is for breaking landings. The buttons controlling the arms, in combination with the right stick, allow you to perform certain grabs. Overall, the controls are a bit complicated, but if you get the hang of it, you’re gonna have a great time.
It’s a pity that Foam Punch hasn’t supported us with a full trick list. Tricks you need to perform are always displayed beforehand, but only within the given mission. The player also has to memorize how to do a certain trick if he wishes to use it later on.
Generally speaking, the gameplay consists of certain layers. You have to stay focused before every jump, not to mention performing the trick itself. The physics are quite realistic, especially when it comes to being in midair. The skiing center is divided into seven areas, including parks (lots of kickers), industrial grounds (many rails to grind on), the winding village, and, of course, fast slopes, where you perform wild and Jurassic jumps.
Speaking of graphics, I must admit that the visual side of the game really speaks to me. It may sound a bit subjective, considering that winter is my favorite time of year. You’re gonna get the chance to admire breathtaking views. Technically, the graphics and visual effects are pretty decent and hold up to the level you would expect from a modern game. I played on my Xbox Series X console and I must say it runs smoothly. Maybe, some textures on buildings and some other objects could be improved; nevertheless, you will experience Shredders beautiful visuals when going down an aggressive slope, and trust me, it’s mind-blowing.
Shredders game has great potential. I love the complexity of the controls, which remind of the good old Tony Hawk Pro Skater series – it has its dexterity aspect and gives you lots of fun at the same time. However, players, who expect the level of realism seen in the Session series, might be a bit disappointed.
The fact that you don’t have to overcome any obstacles to make progress within the game is not as brilliant as the developers thought it could be. Personally, I would like to work harder for the new levels to be unlocked. The ranking system can’t make up for it, and the lack of online rankings makes it even worse.
Missions are quite engaging. Sometimes, you come across an unexpected challenge, like racing against vehicles. However, other snowboarders are always sloppy, and it’s hard to figure out where a checkpoint is when you get too far away from the track.
One could tell that the developers themselves are die-hard fans of snowboarding, and it’s reflected in the great production they have presented before us. I’m looking forward to getting some upgrades, such as new multiplayer modes and an online ranking list, which shouldn’t take much time to introduce. All in all, it’s a decent game in a forgotten genre. I hope it’ll inspire other developing studios to come up with similar titles. I give it an 8/10.
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