Massive Snowboarding's RPG-style progress works well, even if the game does have some flaws...
It seems like these days, everything Gameloft touches turns to gold...or silver...or sometimes a stately bronze. But nothing sucks, which is good, because if Gameloft published crappy games, then the Senor would need a few shots of tequila to ease the pain. But such is not the case with Massive Snowboarding, a winter sports game for your cell phone. Its developers have managed to capture the essence of the sport, even if the game is at times somewhat annoying.
If there's one truth about Gameloft, it's that the company's employees love surprising customers with intensely loud music. Sweet Home Alabama rocked my ear drums when I booted up Midnight Pool 3D, the sweet and delectable Beyonce serenaded me when I played Midnight Bowling, and this time, much to my chagrin, Sum 41 smacked me silly. It's come to the point where, when I see the on screen prompt that asks me if I want to enable sound, I have to seriously think for a moment whether it's is a good idea. In this case it was definitely the wrong thing to do. Unprepared for the noise, the loud wailings that emanated from the demo phone managed to draw quite a few stares. Luckily, I battled those stares back with my pretty boy good looks. Ole!
Unfortunately, the title music isn't the only sound that annoys me. There's this one character by the name of Maya (a sweet gal) whose voice can break glass (or at the very least, extremely brittle nacho chips). And she keeps talking during play. I dig the work Gameloft's done with audio, but they seriously need to take it down 21,438,237,482,743 notches.
As for the actual game, it's pretty sweet. There are five snowboarders to select from, each of which features a distinct personality and different stats (Speed, Jump, Trick, Balance, Switch, and Stance), and over time, as you complete challenges, you'll be able to bump those up RPG style. Plus, there's well over 10 boards to ride, some of which are locked, so the developers definitely believe that variety is the spice of life.
On the slopes, of which, there are eight, the game's quite enjoyable. Much like in EA's SSX series it's very easy to perform tricks with a couple button presses, and for the most part, Massive Snowboarding is fun to play. There's certainly more to the game, but for the most part, all you need to be concerned with is steering (left and right or 4 and 6) and grabbing/jumping with Home or 5. It's designed in such a way that you can use either control scheme, though it's actually better to use a combination of the two. In other words, place your left hand on the directional keys and your right hand on the number pad.
If you just want to hop into any old race you can choose Single Run, or if you'd much rather begin a career you can select New Game. In this mode, you'll need to complete a series of challenges and meet various objectives, and doing these correctly will unlock new slopes, boards, and enable you to level up your character. Some are real simple such as scoring a measly 1,000 points while others ask you to beat an opponent or capture footage of yourself performing some insane trick.
For the most part, Massive Snowboarding is a cool game, but the sound is pretty annoying, so much so that I recommend turning it off completely. That's primarily the reason why I'm giving this game a three out of 5, just because the entire experience isn't enjoyable. But I've also snowboarded right through what appear to be logs, so there are some nagging glitches.
In terms of graphics, Gameloft has proven yet again why it's one of the leaders in 3D technology. The character models look great as do the courses, yet the game is a bit choppy. This is a great first effort no question, but there's still some kinks that need to be worked out.
Despite its faults, Massive Snowboarding is still the best winter sports game you can buy for your phone and I recommend playing it. But if you're looking for a showpiece for your hand set, there's definitely better 3D games on the market, namely Gameloft's exquisite Midnight Pool 3D.
What's Hot: The wealth of content
What's Not: The shifty audio