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Snowboard Hero Review
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Snowboard Hero, a new arcade snowboarding game from FISHLABS, is now available from the app store. With a graphical style akin to SSX and an easy control set, you won’t mind extending the winter a bit to enjoy some powder-carving fun.

Snowboard Hero Pros:

  • Fun snowboarding action that’s reminiscent of SSX
  • High def graphics and varied environments
  • Easy-to-use control scheme utilizing accelerometer and touch inputs
  • Variety of game modes and riders with customizable clothing, boards, and tricks
  • Record Chaser mode has online leaderboards via GameCenter and OpenFeint

Snowboard Hero Cons:

  • Repetitive gameplay
  • No multiplayer option
  • Sense of speed is generally slow and riders don’t achieve crazy height off of jumps like SSX

Snowboard Hero contains both a Career and Record Chaser mode. Record Chaser offers challenges tracked via online leaderboards through OpenFeint or GameCenter. Career comprises everything else. You have 4 different characters to play as, though only 1 is unlocked from the start. Each character has a unique set of traits, as well as customizable jackets, pants, boards, and tricks. The clothing can be unlocked as you perform well in the game. Boards and tricks must be purchased using the in-game currency, but they can be used to improve your abilities, such as speed, agility, boost, and jump to help you perform better and earn more items/money.

There are 10 missions to play, each based on a specific game style: Speed Run, Freestyle, Slalom, Race, and Time Bonus. Additionally, combo modes will pair up some of the aforementioned styles to create multiple objective scenarios and keep the gameplay fresh. Levels are fairly short, lasting no more than a couple of minutes on average. The sense of speed and height achieved on jumps is not all that great, either. Each run can earn you between 1 and 3 stars based on reaching predefined thresholds. Those stars are used to unlock other courses, styles, characters, and clothing. Each course contains multiple paths, with each being better suited for a certain game style, offering more jumps for trick/point-based runs or speedier paths for time trials. Each rider has 6 standard tricks available (left/right grabs, left/right 360s, and front/back flips) with 4 more special purchasable tricks that are unique to each. Courses contain plenty of ramps where you can get air and perform these maneuvers. The longer you hold and the more varied the tricks, the more points you earn and the faster your boost bar fills. Combo moves also help you to gain points/stars faster. You can have up to 4 boosts in reserve, which gives you a boost of speed for a few seconds when used. There are also grind bars to ride and items to snag around the course, such as instant boosts, dollar signs, and score multipliers.

The graphics are fantastic, capturing the look of SSX and bringing the same punky, extreme vibe to the game. The environments show some variety, as there are Ski Run, Fun Park, and Mountain View courses to enjoy. Everything is very colorful and crisp. Animations are fluid, too. Audio is clear, with the expected extreme sports techno music blaring in the background. Effects for swooshing down the mountain, grinding against rails, and all the other little aspects really bring the game alive. Controls are easy to handle, using the accelerometer to steer the rider and taps/swipes to jump and perform tricks. Holding your finger on-screen causes you to crouch, while releasing allows you to jump. Holding again on-screen while airborne initiates a grab, and swiping up/down/left/right will spin the rider in the same direction. It does get kind of repetitive, but there is something about the presentation on the whole that remains enjoyable.

Replay value is ok, as Record Chaser mode gives you a reason to play often. Tracking down all stars and unlocking/buying all items can keep you playing for a while, too. No multiplayer option exists, which is disappointing. At $4.99, it is a bit on the expensive side. Snowboard Hero is a decent snowboarding option for diehards and a 3.5-Dimple release in its current state.

Snowboard Hero Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-04-06T01:44:54+00:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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