SBK: Snowboard Kids
Word to your snowboarder. New updated impressions.
Preview by Chris Bahn (Email)
November 11th 2005
Last Updated: 8/14/05
The Basics: Atlus brings the latest game in the long-running snowboarding series to the US with SBK: Snowboard Kids. On the surface, it seems similar to EA's SSX series, but there's a touch of Mario Kart in there too. The kids each have unique projectile weapons and can also pick up items on the course. Pulling off insane tricks pump up the score, which allows you to execute a special character-specific stunt.
Snowboard Kids is also one of the few 3D games on the DS. The eight different riders are well designed, although more than a bit cliche, and animate well. The courses have a decent draw distance, and everything looks like it will move along at a very playable framerate.
Multiplayer plays a huge part in the game. Four players can race off a single cartridge, snagging powerups and sabotaging each other all the way to the finish line. As an added bonus, money won in multiplayer carries over to the single player mode, where it can be spent on new swag for your selected character.
What do we think? As fun as quirky and experimental are, a few normal games would help balance out the DS library quite nicely. A good snowboarding game, done in that "3D thing" that's all the rage, is just what the system could use amidst its library of dog training, dating, surgery, action/puzzle, and other, even stranger things.
It's interesting to see a new game in this series. It's been over six years since we've seen a follow-up to the Snowboard Kids 2 franchise--which can be deemed as the equivalent of an eternity in gaming years. The character designs have changed from squatty cartoons to anime style, and it looks like Snowboard Kids 2's greener slopes have been ditched in favor of a return to packed powder, but the racing action looks to be as fun as it ever was.
··· James Cunningham