Friday, July 6, 2007

Surf's Up


Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: May 29, 2007
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), practically every other one
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Another entry in the crowded penguin surfing genre.

0:01 When offered the choice to play a stoned-looking chicken, I always take it. I like the tropical background music.
0:03 "Stay tuned for wave by wave coverage." The walrus sports anchor has a fish on his fur. Cute.
0:05 I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm having a blast just surfing up the wave and jamming trick buttons. Tricks seem easy to pull off and land initially.
0:06 Screen cracks when you crash. Nice touch.
0:07 How ridiculous is it that there are grinds in a surfing game? Have you ever seen a surfer grind? No, I didn't think so.
0:08 I just did a trick called the Washing Machine. Wha?
0:09 I get the 15,000 points and clear the first objective on the first try. Easy peasy.
0:13 32,000 on second run... just short of 40,000 point goal. The ever-present wave means it's easy to just keep jumping and doing tricks -- no Tony Hawk-style exploration required.
0:17 43,000 this time, mostly by abusing the trick meter and "tweaked" tricks for 3,000 points each. Easy stuff.
0:18 Shiverpool, Antarctica. Cute name. "I'm looking for a coat. It's freezing down here." Ha.
0:20 The other penguins surfing around seem mostly like eye candy... until I crash into one. Ouch!
0:23 I stumble upon the magic of the right analog stick's freestyle tricks. Very responsive flips and spins... I feel like I'm always in control. Very important.
0:24 I swear if I hear my character say "Cock-a-doodle-don't" one more time I am throwing this game out the window. Or I could turn it off in the options. And I do.
0:25 Being pushed through the level by a wave causes some interesting problems. I keep missing important items because the water swallows them up in front of me. It pays to plan ahead.
0:28 Now that I'm not going for points I can use my trick meter for boost. Nice for getting through some obstacles, but it would work better in some sort of race mode.
0:32 I like how the pace never really slows. Even when you crash or mess a trick, you get going again relatively quickly.
0:35 Going for hidden statues now. For a straight linear on-rails game, they're pretty hard to find.
0:38 "Use your speed boost to break obstacles." OH! That would have been goo to know 35 minutes ago.
0:40 I love the organic level design. Icebergs and tiki huts on stilts don't look too out of place in the water.
0:42 The simplified controls are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it's easy to pull off and land tricks. On other hand, you can't avoid doing the same tricks over and over. I miss the variety of Tony Hawk.
0:45 I finally figured out what the "floater" button does -- you can grind the top of the wave! Cool!
0:48 For the life of me I can't find these last two hidden statues. Completists will have their work cut out for 'em.
0:55 I give up on the statues and look for points instead. With all the points doubleing and grind lines I miss, I can see a lot of room for personal improvement.

Would I play this game for more than an hour: Yes.
Why? Simple responsive controls, interesting level design and an overall action-packed feel.

This review is based on a demo version downloaded from Xbox Live

2 comments:

Mr.Luben said...

I don't really think this is fair to the game...

Don't you think that it would be better to buy the full game...?

But i guess since your only playing it for one hour i guess the demo would be fine...

Kyle said...

Yeah, a demo is usually enough to keep me busy for an hour. If not I just group it together with some other demos.

Regardless of time,the whole point of a demo is to give you a feel for the game. If it doesn't, it fails, IMO.