Massive Snowboarding follows in the footsteps of Amped and SSX in making a snowboarding game that’s as much about racing against time as it is getting a lot of air and pulling of some gravity defying tricks. That may not raise any eyebrows in the console world. But when it comes to doing this on a cell phone, yes in 3D graphics and all, it’s going to do more than raise a few eyebrows.
Massive Snowboarding features five boarders and a total of eight runs peppered with enough obstacles that you can grind and ride on. The game divides a run into several stages. The first thing you need to do is accomplish a few mini-objectives in the stage, such as getting a certain amount of points or completing a specific move. After you do that, you earn the right to race someone down to the lodge. And the third part will have you doing it in front of cameras. Like I mentioned before, the game concepts are similar to those introduced in Amped or SSX.
Luckily there isn’t really a game over aspect in the game. You can’t crash into a tree and die. And you can go through the run as many times as you need to in order to achieve your objectives. That makes the game easier letting players take a quick run through each stage to see where you can get the most points. Novice players will also appreciate the fact that you don’t have to finish everything in exactly one run. Once you open up a stage, you’ll get to use it as much as you like.
The visuals in this game are amazing. The framerate may not be blistering like a next generation console but it’s more than adequate to depict the speed you pick up as you go down a run. There is a short load time but it’s not too long in the tooth. The snowboarders themselves are well-animated and able to stretch and contort themselves to pull off those spin and grind moves that the game demands of them. But perhaps the biggest accomplishment for the developers is how they’ve pulled off making a game worthy of console/PC treatment on the mere hardware of a cell phone. If this game were released five years ago, it would have been considered one of the best.
In spite of the entire technical whiz bang, I found the most irritating thing about the game was the sound effect of the snow. When you’re going down, the game plays a looping effect of howling winds and powder, yet you can hear a pause when the effect is looped (like it needs to be rewound before playing again). That detracts from the overall experience of the game.
That’s one fault. I’ve never really realized how fun a snowboarding game can be until I tried it myself. There is an innate addiction to pulling off a longer string of combos or getting an x amount of points or grinding just for one more second. It makes you want to keep coming back to the game. The easy to use controls also minimize any potential frustration factor.
Massive Snowboarding is, ceteris paribus, a fantastic snowboarding game for the wireless format and a step forward for mobile gaming. It’ll go a long ways in proving that wireless gaming is not a compromise on gameplay and presentation.