Shaun White Snowboarding: Origins
The Red Tomato's iPhone debut isn't a smooth ride.
We thought it would be a good idea to review Shaun White Snowboarding: Origins for the iPod Touch/iPhone while the real Shaun White shoots for new records at the X Games. Something tells us, however, that he'll fare better scoring actual records than folks playing this game. It lacks features and runs too slow to be a must-have, even for a dollar.
In Origins, you'll board through four countries (Chile, USA, Spain and Japan), heading down the mountain in a series of events. There are slalom gate races, trick events and free rides, where you can tackle the slopes any way you see fit. The game features four playable characters (Gordon, Mario, Alex and Mats), and doesn't allow you to play as White, which is a puzzling decision
You steer by tilting your device left and right, and it responds accordingly. To perform tricks, you'll utilize a boost button on the corner of the screen and then press a combination of D-pad functions for tricking and flipping and specific points on a virtual board for grabs, grinds and tweaks. While decent, there's no option for touch steering.
The rest of Origins doesn't measure up. There aren't many modes to choose from; no Time Trial, Story or Create-a-Skater/Downhill Run of any kind. Even multiplayer's absent. If you want to engage in competitive racing, the only option you have is to beat previous race times through Ghost Racing. It beats nothing, but come on. There could've been more than this.
Origins' biggest issue, however, is performance. There's no question that Ubisoft put a lot of work into the game's 3-D visuals and mountain design. However, about three-quarters of the time we played it on our 3G model, it slowed down. Crash in the snow and it takes two seconds (or more) for you to move again. Even going around turns, the game chugs like a cheap Slurpee machine. It's weird, because the audio goes strong the whole time. The in-game soundtrack is excellent, as are the blowing wind and other sound effects. Ubisoft should've put this through more testing before releasing it on the App store. It's a mess.
Should a patch come out to address the game's lack of modes and poor visual performance, Shaun White Snowboarding: Origins could easily be as good as its Wii counterparts. For now, it tumbles downhill. Skip it and watch Shaun White work his magic on TV instead.
What's Hot: Top-of-the-line audio effects and soundtrack, solid tilt controls, four mountains to choose from, you can race against ghost times.
What's Not: Severe performance issues (at least on the 3G models), no time trial or Story modes, no multiplayer, no option to steer with touch controls, performing tricks is more laborious than natural, can't play as Shaun White.