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Snowboard Hero

For: iPhone   Also on: Mobile

It's tricky

Product: Snowboard Hero | Publisher: Deep Silver Fishlabs | Developer: Deep Silver Fishlabs | Format: iPhone | Genre: Sports | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Snowboard Hero iPhone, thumbnail 1
Games like Snowboard Hero tend to have just one overriding purpose for geeks: to let them feel cool for one fleeting moment.

Even if it's only in your head, being able to take to the slopes, grinding on rails or flipping a full 360-degrees in the air, is a liberating experience.

Yet, to only define Snowboard Hero in such terms does it something of a disservice. Developer Fishlabs has naturally ensured its winter sports sim is jam-packed full of all the right lingo.

Learn by doing

To some degree, the whole thing plays out a little bit like one long tutorial. One-off challenges, which follow each other in a deliberately linear manner, guide you gently from one concept to the next, mixing up straight one-on-one races with slalom challenges, freestyle trick fests, and timed runs.

Despite there only being eight different tracks – admittedly, each one coming with short cuts, jumps, and ramps aplenty to ensure they never become run-of-the-mill – Snowboard Hero is able to layer its challenges so that every level introduces a new element to keep it fresh.

Conversely, your progression through Career mode never strays from the standard arcade model. Depending on the challenge you're undertaking, the idea is to gain the highest star rating on your way down the slope.

Cash and points you earn in play can then be cashed in to pick up new equipment to improve your performance or simply kit you out in flashier clothes.

Swipe and slide

Timed runs, for instance, are a case of finishing as fast as you can, but stages where pulling off tricks is the order of the day require you to hit a set points tally. Picking up score multipliers and pulling off several flips and jumps in one go is the only way to keep your total ticking over.

The tricks themselves are pulled off via simple swipes, but there are also ramps to grind that are handled with the accelerometer. As such, jumps are critical. As long as you have air – gained either by flying off the end of a hill or earned manually by holding a finger to the screen and lifting at peak point – you can perform any trick you've unlocked.

The gestures required are mostly logical, too. Swiping horizontally, for instance, sends your rider spinning left or right, while a quick stroke upwards tips him or her forward 360 degrees.

Picture perfect

The controls being hassle free, the game isn't about memorising complicated gestures. It's about knowing just when each move can be employed without you landing face down in the snow.

Learning what moves work and where certainly takes some doing, but the fact that most of the stages act as veritable playgrounds – guiding you from one jump to the next in a beautifully prescribed manner – means that the whole learning process feels like a work of art.

There's undoubtedly a possibility that eight courses won't be enough meat for everyone, and in terms of ticking boxes it would certainly do Fishlabs no harm to slip in a few more slopes and multiplayer in future updates.

But as things stand the solid controls and nice progression mechanic means Snowboard Hero is as classy as it is cool.
Snowboard Hero
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 11 April 2011
With more tricks than your average magician, Snowboard Hero offers frenetic fun on the slopes, held together by an intuitive career mode that keeps you on track from start to finish
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