There are plenty of players who enjoy a great, virtual snowboarding experience, but the sub-genre of sports games has been relatively quiet for a few years, especially after the decline of SSX. Players have been left without a new way to shred down mountains and pull off incredible mid-air tricks. With Shredders, an Xbox and PC exclusive developed by FoamPunch, that finally changes.
Shredders follows the story of YouTubing and snowboarding duo Scotty and (insert player name here). Your goal is to escape irrelevancy and make it to the local invitational competition alongside a number of legendary snowboarders, all while having fun and developing your snowboarding skills. Shredders is a love letter to snowboarding, if you're willing to put up with a handful of performance issues.
Bottom line: Shredders is a fun, straightforward dive into the world of snowboarding, with mostly great controls and movements, and plenty of real-world influences. Some rough edges and often poor performance are all that hold this title back.
- Snowboarding feels great
- Beautiful world with multiple environments
- Fun, self-aware campy story
- Frequent performance issues
- Occasionally inconsistent controls
- Messy UI
Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a review code provided by FoamPunch. The company did not see the contents of the review before publishing.
Shredders: What's good
Shredders is made for snowboarding lovers. I'm not familiar with snowboarding, at least not more than any other sport, but I could feel the attention to detail oozing out of every part of the game. Shredders counts multiple professional snowboarders among its cast, and features a ton of real-world snowboarding gear. There are seven areas to explore in its open world, each with distinct environments and terrain.
|Players||Single & multiplayer|
|Play Time||5-7 hours|
|Xbox Game Pass||Xbox, Cloud, & PC|
|Launch Date||March 17, 2022|
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
A game about snowboarding understandably requires great snowboarding, and Shredders doesn't disappoint. Snowboarding feels satisfying, with a huge variety of tricks and moves that perfectly captures "easy to learn, difficult to master." I found plenty of enjoyment in exploring the various areas and pulling off incredible tricks, even as someone who has little interest in the intense sport.
Shredders doesn't entirely position itself as an arcade game, either, with realistic physics behind every movement. Managing and maintaining your momentum is vital, as is learning your surroundings and constantly remaining aware. Not all snow is the same (softer, newer snow is easier to wipeout in, for example), and not every jump can be approached in the same way. Shredders' controls (which require a controller, even on PC), involve multiple simultaneous inputs to pull off complex tricks, so concentration and lots of practice are a necessity. It takes a few hours to ease into Shredders and become familiar with its mechanics, but the ceiling to master it feels quite high.
When you combine the polished snowboarding experience with Shredders' expansive open world, the possibilities for longterm play feel substantial (even outside the admittedly short story, which took around six hours to complete). Shredders progressively unlocks additional areas for players as they complete story missions. Each area feels unique, ranging from traditional snowboarding slopes to near-abandoned towns. The story mostly exists to teach you everything you need to know about playing, but there are plenty of side missions with fun objectives and challenges to complete. It also provides repeatable missions that you can return to for higher scores and perfect finishes. These missions are how you unlock new gear, including coats, masks, accessories, and boards. Shredders is lenient with these gear drops, making it easy to personalize your character; an engagement-centric progression system this is not.
I wasn't expecting Shredders to deliver a branching narrative encompassing dozens of hours of character development and dramatic plot, and I wasn't surprised. Shredders' campaign is unimportant but ultimately fun, and that's exactly what I wanted from it. It's silly, incredibly campy, self-aware of its goofiness, and doesn't stick around too long. The characters and their voice acting reflect this approach, and it all works well together.
Shredders also looks stunning on Xbox Series X despite everything obviously being covered in a layer of white snow. Shredders isn't trying to be photo-realistic, but still features smaller details like snow deformation that help add to the fun of snowboarding.
One aspect of Shredders I wasn't able to explore but shows promise for players intending to dive in long-term is the multiplayer. Ideally, the Shredders world will be populated in real-time with other players snowboarding alongside you, granting additional depth to the world and its missions. FoamPunch also intends to develop and add to the multiplayer over time, but it remains to be seen what that entails.
Shredders: What's not good
The single largest issue preventing me from loving Shredders more than I do is the lacking performance I often encountered. Even on Xbox Series X, Shredders is populated by frequent dropped frames, hangs, and lag. Combined with occasional bugs (like a specific mission slowing to a crawl whenever you try to reset after a wipeout), Shredders didn't feel nearly as consistent as I had hoped.
When not faced with these various performance shortcomings, Shredders admittedly feels quite smooth and responsive. The aforementioned issues were just common enough, however, to feel like a problem rather than a small compromise. It's worth mentioning that Shredders was updated mid-way through my review, reportedly with fixes for the multiplayer and more, but I did not notice an improvement in my performance.
Aside from the performance flaws, Shredders is a straightforward game built for one purpose and one purpose only: to snowboard, and as such there's not much else to say. Still, I did have one recurring concern regarding the snowboarding in Shredders. The vast majority of the time, controls felt tight and satisfying. Unfortunately, I experienced multiple instances of tricks I had pulled off a hundred times before suddenly refusing to work because controls didn't respond the way I expected.
Many of Shredders' controls are assigned to the joysticks, requiring precise directional movement to pull off specific moves and to alter your momentum. However, joysticks are inherently imprecise, likely contributing to the problems I faced. Constant practice mitigated these mishaps somewhat, but even towards the end of my playthrough I noticed myself failing the simplest of tricks despite my complete confidence I had correctly executed the necessary controls.
Finally, Shredders' UI and UX is... serviceable. I could spend a considerable amount of time on the frankly terrible and incomprehensible spinning logo on the main menu, but I won't linger. Once you get into Shredders, the menus are rough, lacking small details like clear indicators where you are and what you've selected or equipped. Navigation feels unpolished, and I often noticed the screen detailing the maps and missions forgetting my selections, failing to update entries, and more. The interface is good enough, but barely.
Shredders: Should you play it?
Shredders completely skips the aging Xbox One generation of consoles (you can still play through Xbox Cloud Gaming) and launches exclusively on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC. When you consider its crisp visuals, physics-heavy gameplay, and the frequent frame drops and lag that permeates the entire game, it's easy to understand why. For players on current-gen systems or PC, Shredders offers one of the best (and only) snowboarding experiences, even with its rough edges and sometimes poor performance.
The scarcity of good snowboarding games is not all that redeems Shredders. I genuinely had a lot of fun learning how to pull off increasingly complicated tricks and progressing through the charmingly absurd story. Players looking for a great snowboarding game, a new sports game that's easy to pick up but surprisingly difficult to master, or a simple multiplayer romp through a pretty snow-laden world will all be serviced well by Shredders. It may not be one of the best Xbox games of all time, but it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do: shred snowy slopes.
Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.