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iPhone  header logo

X2 Snowboarding

For: iPhone

X-cite-2-ment

Product: X2 Snowboarding (iPhone) | Developer: Exient | Format: iPhone | Genre: Simulation, Sports | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), Bluetooth | Version: Europe | App version: 1.1
 
X2 Snowboarding (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
A glance at its stunning visual style shows that X2 Snowboarding coats its digital snowboards with just enough sugar to drum up a sense of sporting intrigue.

Fortunately, developer Exient has managed to maximise on that good first impression with equally awesome gameplay.

Although X2 Snowboarding offers the usual character customisation, choice of boards, upgrades, and everything else that keeps a snowboarder from snowboarding in these types of games, it actually manages to put few obstacles between you and the mountain.

Straight to the slopes

This immediacy of play is helped by a tutorial that guides you down a couple of ramps to teach you the controls. After you've completed it, you’re free to begin your wintry career within minutes of loading the game.

Touch or accelerometer steering is offered, the latter offering a far more realistic interpretation of sliding down the slopes: it makes speeding up and slowing down more organic by tipping backwards and forwards.

Accompanying this is a 'jump' button, performing a quick ollie after a tap, or launching you into the air if you hold it down. Pretty standard stuff, really.

The difference is in the tricks. Once you’re off the ground, a representation of the board appears under your fingertips, allowing you to instruct your rider where to grab. Combined with the movement controls, there’s a freedom rarely seen in games of this ilk.

A grand view

This notion of building upon a solid yet established racing mechanism is given further intensity by the unique addition of time warp. Successful tricks fill a power meter, which you can use to trigger a form of bullet time when performing mid-air tricks or even rewind a few seconds after a disastrous face plant.

The game moves so fast that employing this fascinating power takes crackerjack timing, but pulling it off is all the more exciting for it.

The superb graphics also contribute to the sense of quality. The 3D mountains are as impressive as any the iPhone has ever seen, and the cel-shaded visual style gives it flair. The result is a vivid, super slick trip down the mountainside at invigorating speeds.

For once, your ears aren’t assailed by guitar thrashing teeny rock. A wonderfully eclectic - even vaguely meditative - selection of electronic tracks don’t distract from the race, but enhance the experience subtly.

Snow modes

No snowboarding game is complete without a few different objectives as you pound it down the mountainside, and X2 Snowboarding keeps pretty much to the classics.

Race events are sub-categorised, usually revolving around crossing the finish line in first or second place, though some of the challenges mean racking up the highest score before you arrive at the bottom. Usually this would be considered a trick event, but the game has a variation on that particular theme that's very difficult, but a lot of fun.

Trick runs start your score off at 100, which acts as something of a timer - gradually counting down when you're not performing stunts, and topped up by landing some hot tricks. The task, therefore, is to cross the finish line with as close to 100 as you can get.

It's a great variation on the trick run standard, and possibly the most entertaining mode the game has to offer.

Naturally, there are free-run levels, too, which offer a more meditative experience, and serve as a decent practice mode. X2 Snowboarding promises online multiplayer in the future, but at the time of writing it keeps things local, with Bluetooth and same-network wi-fi if you want to race against friends.

Generally, snowboarding games aren’t brought down because of an inherent design flaw but by a collection of small gameplay faults that leave it tumbling uncontrollably down the gaming mountain.

X2 Snowboarding takes you down the track just the same as all the other games in this genre, but has made a notable and successful effort to eliminate the minor quirks, clichés, and annoyances that other snowboarding games suffer from. For that reason, it's currently the best game of its kind on the App Store.
 
X2 Snowboarding
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 15 February 2010
A snowboarding game like many others, made great by a judicious attention to detail and a permeating quality
 
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