Overall Score 50%
I don't know much about snowboarding but I'm sure that it helps if you're Martian. Stoked Rider is a freeware snowboarding game, and for freeware it looks really good. The game has instructions in the readme file, an instructions option on the title screen and a 'hit F1 for help' option too. This is unusual for a game that looks like a simple console game, but that help is needed.
Stunts is the name of the game (or rather 'Stoked' which is a snowboarding compliment according to the Austrian development team who are working on a commercial sequel at the time of writing). Surf your little green man down the mountain, using ramps and the spacebar to leap majestically into the air where you can perform tricks, turns and spins.
Unfortunately even with the help of the well placed ramps, leaping to any height at all is near enough impossible. There are several tricks to complete while airbourne such as twisting and turning, grabbing the board then twisting and turning etc. You get more points for more difficult manouvres, and several in one leap can open up special modes.
The game looks nice. You get a full screen of snow with mountains and trees. The sun blinks from high above and your board cuts a trail in the snow too. Distant trees don't so much as 'emerge from fog' as 'change from blue' but the effect is still nice. You get spinning pick-ups and arrows, and the game does look and play like a console game, albeit one that is half finished. The graphics are slow though. I thought this was a computing power issue but it appears that the frame rate speed is locked at 15hz, which makes the game look slow.
Any sound is instantly forgettable but the up beat music can be quite good, two bands no less did the music. The mp3 files form part of the distribution so you can have a listen to the rock 'instrumental' outside of the game.
There are a couple of game modes to play. There is a randomly generated eternal free for all where our strangely hued hero flies through icy and tree filled worlds. The trees look like obstacles but you can ride though them. Riding backwards is strictly denied which can mean facing a sheer rock wall with no obvious way out, but this is rare.
The competition mode gifts you with several missions to complete, like locating your downed UFO (a common problem for us snowboarding types).
A faster and easier to play sequel could be great. The developers obviously have talent and a lot of work has gone into this game. If it was not freeware it would be hard for me to recommend because there is a point between 'rough around the edges' and 'half finished' they have not yet crossed, however it's free! Snowboarding fans or thrill seekers with a fast CPU should take a look.
Soon, they too will know what a lumberslide is.
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