Impressions: Snowboarding TnT

When it comes to accelerometer-based games, you tend to think of sports or games that are steering-intensive, such as kart racing or skateboarding. How about snowboarding? It may not be the first thing that jumps to mind, but I’ve found it works quite well on the iPod Touch. However, toss in a little hypersensitivity, and you have a bit of a touchy subject on your hands.

Snowboarding TnT is a cheaper snowboarding game that asks you to tilt, twist, and turn in order to succeed. Throughout a good mix of colorful snowy landscapes (littered with trees, I might add), you’ll be avoiding obstacles and hurtling downhill at a breakneck pace. You’ll start off at the very zenith of a cliff, and race your way down to the end, rather than simply matching up against fellow snowboarders. I’m not typically a sports gal, so anything that simplified the experience was deeply appreciated.  Plus, I tend to pick up my iPod and play in short bursts, so a grab and go game is something I always enjoy.

You can pull off thirty different tricks as you make your way downhill, and choose from several different types of tracks such as “Tornado Alley” and “Black Diamond,” which from my understanding is new to this particular version. As one of two snowboarders, Markus and Brooke, you will unlock seven different tracks as you make your way through the game, avoiding obstacles and while grabbing some big air, performing some of the tricks you will have learned throughout the game. The in-game tutorials are quite helpful as well, easing beginners into the experience at a fair and challenging pace.

Unfortunately, the particularly over-sensitive motion controls are nothing to write home about. Since there are a myriad of obstacles you must avoid on the way down the hill, it follows that you should have the power to make hairpin turns and precise turns in order to save your snowboarder from running smack-dab into a strategically-placed tree. It brings me back to the day of SkiFree, as I always had a great deal of trouble avoiding obstacles with finicky mice back then and would always end up being eaten by the Yeti. I feel the same with Snowboarding TnT, as tilting the device does not allow for as much precise and accurate control of my boarder as I feel is necessary. This is a problem I seem to run into time and time again, and one of the reasons I particularly despise motion controls.

When you can control your boarder fairly well, the game boasts a great sense of speed along with colorful graphics and decent landscapes that are nicely crafted for a game on the platform. It’s most unfortunate that you must deal with such inconsistency via the controls, though. I’d have preferred they went with touch-screen directional buttons in order to up your accuracy. Perhaps its other mobile device editions control much better, as I have seen mention that the game was released on several different platforms.

Though Snowboarding TnT is an entertaining package, its flaws will frustrate players into oblivion. Still, it’s a decent snowboarding app for the iPhone/iPod Touch, and one that’s worth the $1.99, especially if updates augment the strange control scheme.  Motion controls are nice, but giving players the chance to pick which type work best for them would have been more appropriate here and certainly something that would keep players like me coming back.  That’d be worth the money, most certainly.

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