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SBK: Snowboard Kids Game Sample - DS

Vysethedetermined2 Follow
  • Video description
  • 3 years ago
What can I say about Atlus and Racjin/Racdym's "Snowboard Kids"? Growing up, it was labeled as the "other" racer of the time that lacked the hype of titles like Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing (fine racing games they be) or the realism of Ridge Racer or Gran Turismo, but it was one of the games I played most back on the N64. It later saw two follow-ups, the Japan-only "Snobow Kids Plus" for Playstation (which added additional layers to the characters) and a proper sequel, "Snowboard Kids 2" for N64 that improved on the original in so many ways that it easily became one of the best games on the system (maybe not in the top 10, but definitely in the top SOMETHING)... I consider myself fortunate for having the chance to play it back in the day, and when a reboot was announced as an early DS title, I was stoked... the thought of playing SBK wirelessly with friends was a game changer and I picked it up back in '05 as soon as it dropped... except it was watered down so much from SBK2 that I didn't know HOW to feel about it, but I played this and Puyo Pop Fever regardless as my two mains for quick NDS sessions.

Fast forward many years later and I'm revisiting this game again aaaand... It's okay. If you look at it as the SBK title to release after SBK2, it's a disappointment, but if you look at its own individual merits, it looks, sounds and plays fine, even if the touch and microphone elements are shoe-horned in. Instead of the goofy, big-nosed characters people know and love, the characters are mostly realistic, "rad" teenagers (barring the two and a half hidden characters -- Max and Jack/Black Frost... Jack Black... har har) with a few personality changes... the biggest change by far is Nancy, as she's kind of an ice queen to put it nicely. Several characters have been removed such as Linda, Wendy, Damien, Coach, Mr. Dog and Shinobin, while Brad, Koyuki, Max and the Jacks make their debut.

Fastest times and highest scores are still the focus of the game and many of the power-ups and statistics are the same or have similar properties, but the gameplay itself has been overhauled to "take advantage" of the DS' features. Players now have to touch the screen to do special tricks and can upgrade their power-ups when they have a full SBK meter, a bar that builds up to three levels over time and when doing tricks so characters can execute attacks, though super tricks will deplete the whole meter. Power-ups also do things like freeze you in a block of ice, knock you down, toss you into the air, reverse your controls, cover your screen in fog and more, which will require you to mash buttons or speak into the microphone to recover quicker.

Gone is the in-game currency to buy power-ups on the tracks, rocket boosters (sort of), wings for insane air, and the quirkier mini-games, and the highly imaginative tracks are now straightforward, based (loosely) on real locations and are not as robust; few tracks have significant shortcuts and the characters aren't as balanced thanks to the way boards work in this game. In the previous game, boards acted as a base -- Alpine Boards were for speed, Balance Boards... are obvious, and Freestyle Boards were for turning and jumping, and they came in three levels. That is still the case here... BUT each level was a natural evolution stat-wise. Let's assume a level one balance board gave 3 points to all stats, 4 points at level 2, and 5 points at level 3. In this game, as the board levels up, some stats go down as it reaches max level. In most cases, it's the turning stat (as boards increase in speed) but sometimes both the turning AND trick stat.

I don't play games like SBK for realism and this creates an even bigger gap in balance -- a character like Koyuki can only compensate so much for speed when a level 3 Alpine Board will shred her turning and trick stats and make her inferior to someone like Nancy even with a level 1 board and default stats. The only saving grace to this is weapon abilities are character-specific and her shuriken is very annoying with a max SBK as it sometimes bounces around and hits opponents several times, though attacks can be negated with a timed jump or spin (only a regular spin, not a trick spin). The A.I. can be tough at first as they all target you, but practice makes short work of them... the key is to stay in the crouch position for increased speed and quick SBK meter from small tricks, so you can be ready to jump when an "!" appears meaning you're under attack, though you can power turn too for tight corners. If you're really stuck, you can BUY CHEATS and neutralize all difficulty or add a challenge.

This game is much shorter than SBK2 and lacks quite a bit in terms of variety, though you can still buy colors and board designs and Slalom, Trick Race and Bosses still appear. This is a video showing the game in action with a few cheats enabled (for demonstration, though they are deactivated during Bosses, Slalom, etc.) and of different modes. Enjoy.
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