Snowboard Party is a well drawn up sports game for Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices that puts you on the slopes trying to master the art of snowboarding. The game has over 75 level objectives, 15 gaming achievements and three different course to run. Graphics and animations are well done and those mid-air tricks aren't as easy as you would think.
Add plenty of gear to upgrade, 15 courses based in the Rockies, Alps and in Japan, and multiplayer competition and Snowboard Party can make a very nice first impression. Available for low-memory Windows Phones and Windows 8 devices, if you are looking for an entertaining winter sports game, you'll want to give Snowboard Party some thought.
Snowboard Party's main menu is chocked full of options that include accessing the game's settings, viewing your achievements and high scores, visit the game's store and jump into game play.
Settings cover your steering modes, audio settings, leaderboard options, view your trick list and view the 'how to play' section. Steering options include an on-screen joystick or to use your tilt sensors (where available) to guide your snowboarder downhill.
When you first launch Snowboard Party, you will need to establish a player name that will be used for the online leaderboard and multiplayer competitions. From there, it's simply an issue of which course to hit.
Game play is available on three different course styles and multiplayer competition. You have Freestyle game has you starting at the top of the course and perform as many tricks as possible on your way down the hill. The Halfpipe and Big Air games is event based gaming with shorter runs. As you perform tricks, you'll earn points, which will translate into experience, which will open up new courses, snowboarders and gear in the game's shop.
The multiplayer game is online competition between other Snowboard Party gamers.
Your game shop has an assortment of specialty items to purchase and a variety of trick that can be unlocked. Your purchases are done with the experience points you earn. Additionally, as you begin game play you will have the option to choose your snowboarder, outfits and boards. Each are unlockable based on your experience.
Once you have selected your snowboarder, you will need to choose your course. There are fifteen courses to choose from that become available as you earn experience.
Game Play with Snowboard Party isn't very difficult to pick up but challenging to master. The two steering controls works well and it's solely an issue of preference as to which works the best. The joystick is positioned out of the way in the lower left corner. Tilt controls seem a little sluggish at first but with a little fine-tuning in the settings, noticeably improve. Even if you choose tilt controls, you still will have a joystick present on-screen for trick control.
Along with the steering controls, in the lower right corner is a control panel for your slides, jumps and hand grabs.
Regardless of which game you are playing, each will start you at the top of a run and after a "3, 2, 1, Go" your snowboarder will start down the course. Tricks are accomplished through a series of control panel button and joystick manipulations. By no means am I a snowboard master but I found it best to play the Freestyle game to get a handle on steering and the basic tricks before I dove into multiplayer games or the Halfpipe or Big Air games.
Game play was fun and with the quality graphics, you might find yourself leaning into things or raising up in your seat as your snowboarder tackles the slopes. At the end of each run a replay of your adventures will automatically be generated. You can sit back and watch your escapades or tap the screen to skip the play back and head to your scoring stats.
Snowboard Party is an entertaining game for Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices. Graphics and animations are nicely done, game play challenging and there are plenty of gaming options that keeps the game fresh. While I liked the variety of snowboarders, I think the game would benefit from allowing players to create their own player to use throughout the game to give things more of a personal feel.
I did experience a few glitches with the online multiplayer modes but opponents losing or ending the connection could have caused that. The game also takes a considerable amount of time transitioning between screens. Going from the main menu to settings or any other transition can take a few seconds. It's not a dreadful delay but it would be nice to see things move along a little quicker.
The biggest downside to Snowboard Party is the lack of a trial version. It's a nice game that will appeal to many but the lack of trial version will likely hurt the attractiveness of Snowboard Party. A trial version that is limited to the first slope or timed to expired would likely help attract customers. As is, I am sure several will say, "No trial, no buy" and move on.
Nonetheless, Snowboard Party comes across as a fun game for those who are into snowboarding, as well as those who appreciate a challenging sports game. While the game's pricing point is mid-range, keep in mind that for the $1.99 you get access to both the Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions of Snowboard Party.
The game is still relatively new in the Windows Phone Store and at last check, it was pulling down a 5 Star rating. I'd rate Snowboard Party slightly lower because of the transition delays, but won't quibble over half a star.