It was clear from the initial Kinect announcement that racing titles would become a common feature in the controller-free gaming experience’s library. Forza, Burnout, Kinect Joy Ride and Sonic Free Riders all showed potential when they were revealed at E3 earlier this year though, the list goes on, as Konami’s first Kinect title also fell under the racing genre in the form of boarding title, Crossboard 7.
Known as Alternative Misfits in the U.S, the game sees players taking control of young-looking characters and multi-coloured wolves as they make their way down the slopes and ramps of the game’s environments on snowboards. Players lean backwards and forward to control the character in the intended direction, jumping to make the in-game character jump and twisting – also self-explanatory.
To help players get to grips with the motion-controls, Crossboard 7 provides players with a tutorial, which comes in the form of trials that give the player objectives to complete, including completing certain jump and grab moves. The trials make for a good introduction to the game, allowing players to come to terms with the title’s slow gameplay - further evidence that the game was developed with the casual target audience. At times, this can become quite tedious, leaving players standing around – literally.
Not only that, but the game does become repetitive quickly. Players unlock new races, boards and characters by playing and completing the game’s challenges. Unfortunately, the lack of flow and structure in the game sees players having to return to and navigate through the game’s menu at the end of each race, which is slightly off-putting and is more than likely to result in players switching to another game altogether.
The game modes in Crossboard 7 come in the form of events such as: Balloon Buster, Downhill Slalom, Fly Distance, Free Race, Stadium Games and Trick Score, each of which is easy to understand and play. Each game mode provides players sufficient entertainment for one or two playthroughs, though unlikely to keep them for any longer. This is down to the lack of variation and depth within each one.
Each game mode is available to play within Multiplayer with a second player. It came as a surprise to learn that not only does the game not support more than two players locally, but there is no Xbox Live multiplayer either. While Xbox Live play isn’t a big loss, the potential to have additional players locally was there and could, possibly should, have been implemented.
Despite its bad points, Crossboard 7 is extremely fun, especially for younger gamers. The game’s simple pick-up-and-play style allows players to imitate snowboarding moves which are replicated within the game, made even more enjoyable by the emulation of tricks and skills.
Graphically, the game is to the standard you would expect based at the casual end of the market. The characters and landscapes, ranging from snow-topped mountains to sand-filled deserts, have all been designed well and coloured-brightly to ensure it appeals to the younger gamer. As for the audio, the soundtrack suits the game’s style, using a steady tempo throughout to capture the gameplay. As you would expect, an over-the-top commentary features which will consistently get on player’s nerves.
While it would be harsh to class the game as “shovelware” due to some poor development features, Crossboard 7 is almost there. The game provides fun, if not quite slow, gameplay that will mostly be enjoyed by the younger gamer. This is a title to rent rather than purchase because of its short term lifespan.