PC, Xbox Series X
March 17, 2022
Snowboarding has got a bit of a bad rep in the gaming world (unless you count the spectacular Sonic Riders back in 2006!). A realistic sim has been attempted in the past with titles like Shaun White Snowboarding, SSX, and even the recent Steep. While these have been decent attempts, they come with the kind of bells and whistles that Shredders deliberately forgoes, instead opting to boil the experience down to the core of what makes snowboarding fun. Utilising basic controls that allow you to perform as many tricks as possible to increase your points, fans of the sport will be mostly pleased with the results as Shredders trades style for substance while still being a lot of fun.
Shredders is developed by Swedish developer FoamPunch, who clearly has a love and passion for the sport as it shines through every bit of this game. The character design is unique with no actual faces being shown just a huge pair of ski goggles and the character wearing a ski jacket and pants. Each is unique, with professional snowboarders lending their voices with greats like Leanne Pelosi and Arthur Longo jumping on board. If you are new to snowboarding, the lingo from pros will help you feel part of this world and they do a great job of keeping it light and fun. Fans will also love hearing these known voices, though more work could have been done to help this sound authentic as it comes off cheesy at times and eventually irritating.
You play in a third-person view of your character as you slide your way through the levels. The locations change up between sprawling mountains, congested abandoned factories with objects littered throughout, and mountains covered in varying amounts of pixelated snow and trees that add in a varying amount of difficulty. As you cruise through each mission, the soundtrack of absolute bangers conveys the cool and fun of the sport itself.
The game’s campaign runs between 5-7 hours long, complete with motion capture cutscenes that look spectacular on the Xbox Series X. Once you have the tutorial down pat, you will run through missions like ripping through trees while performing as many tricks as possible. In addition, there are a ton of side quests, and each primary mission can be replayed to try and improve your score. The missions are small and easy to get through, however, replaying the same thing over and over again is not my idea of a great time with a game. The missions could have been fleshed out more or strung together better to maintain interest in the single-player portion of the game.
If multiplayer is more your thing, you may have to wait a little bit longer as the private play sessions are still coming. For the moment you can see other players boarding down the hill as you play, but you can’t approach or join their game. Currently the game has no online leaderboard system which would have been a fun addition and an encouragement to keep replaying missions to build up points. Hopefully it is something that is added down the line as it could create a community to keep the game momentum going.
The environments are meticulously detailed, and when you get into the open world, it feels as close to the real thing as possible. Cruising down the hill on your board while the digital snow sprays and squirts from side to side, it has never looked so good in a game before. This combines with easy to master intuitive controls that make it easy to grind rails and perform tricks to rack up points. Once you master the controls, you can easily connect your tricks together. This admittedly took some time to get right. The controls are responsive with minimal delay time, however, the actual combo you need to pull off a truly epic trick takes time and patience. Qualities I do not possess. There are rails and ramps scattered throughout the open world to assist in performing these tricks, although the amount of these may make the game too easy for pros. There is even a rewind button you can use if you mistakenly press the wrong button or get distracted by your adorable dog who’s not happy that you are gaming and ignoring them. Whilst these inclusions make the game easier, I still struggled quite a bit with sticking the landing to a jump, it felt like the biggest struggle to get right.
You can get to higher ground by using chairlifts to take you to higher locations and a drone you unlock early in the game can easily transport and drop you into different environments. This makes it easier to get around the various areas of the game. A lot of downhill mountain missions including racing against a van and weaving your way in and out of factory buildings with obstacles goes hand in hand with the adorable snowmobile that can transport you around the open world. Load times are near-instant in this title too, allowing you to easily restart a mission if there is not enough rewind left.
- Beautiful graphics and open world
- A great snowboarding simulation
- Intuitive controls
- Online play is still a work in progress
- Short single player campaign
While Shredders is definitely a great homage to snowboarding, it feels restrained and I can’t decide if it’s the budget, the developers, or the lack of length in missions that are what’s holding it back from entering into truly great territory. The incredibly beautiful snowfields help this world come to life. And while the characters can look a little generic, the voice work from professional snowboarders does help make up for this (sometimes). The developers at FoamPunch have delivered an open world with intuitive controls and a killer soundtrack that will make you want to keep coming back. Shredders is undoubtedly a solid snowboarding simulation. Hopefully the next attempt can clean up the pain points to deliver the whole package.