Kart Racing With Less Wheels
Snowboard Kids came out fairly early in the Nintendo 64's life which may have been its only saving grace in terms of sales one it was put against the ever popular Mario Kart 64. As the amount of titles available on a system the chance that someone will buy your game starts to decrease as the selection available to someone increases. Throw in some cover art depicting eight year olds on snow boards all of whom contain some very interesting noses and a chick in a pink bunny suit and you just cut off a very large amount of your possible audience who find such concepts offensive. For the remaining 20% of people the very things about this game that turns the others off is what we find charming about it.
Now for those of you who don't like to be around people you might as well steer clear otherwise you will be entering a world of overpowered items, flaky AI characters, and a snowballing catch up system. For the people who do have friends your going to be entering the same world but with some other people. This is a party game and anyone going into this game expecting anything else from it will be given a frosty reception (I am sincerely sorry).
The controls to the game are extremely simple and surprisingly tight for a game lacking a definate amount of polish. Most of the time if I found myself sliding over the edge of a mountain to my impending but temporary doom I was ready to acknowledge it humbly as my mistake or more likely anyone in the same room as me because they were obviously a distraction. There are admittedly a fair amount of instances on all but the early tracks where you can fall to your cold death but in the grand scheme of things such an event is only a minor setback.
What is strange and something I don't think we will ever see repeated for a while is that each track has laps. Sure thats not strange for a racing game but think about it. How does a snow boarding game have laps. Well once you get to the bottom you have to fight everyone off to gain entrance to a chair lift. Thats right, you politely line up for the next red plastic seat to heaven and start it all over again. Its an interesting idea but soon becomes annoying as hell. While the initial battle to get there first can be fun, the ever so present catch up system in the game ensures that most of the time everyone gets there at the same time and often the last person to get there will be able jump the queue. This was either an interesting game mechanic or an attempt by the game makers to recycle tracks in a race.
More annoying than that however are the items. Yes items are the final straw in someone liking the Mario kart model of games. You do sometimes feel really cheated when you've just exerted so much skill to get into that first position only to have it robbed from you because someone threw an anamorphic snowball at you. Sure you can do the same thing back to the them but Snow board kids has such a sure fire homing system for their attack items that it almost feels like cheating. While you can turn items off playing a kart race type game like this without items is similar to eating a hotdog without any sauce. Sure you can still do it but your an effing freak if you do.
While I am aware that most of the things I have had to say about this game were negative there are some good merits to it. The graphics are quite suitable for it considering the time and some of the tack design is actually quite fun but this game perplexes me to no end. I hate so much about it. There are so many things included in this game that should make me hate it and yet I have a considerable amount of fun with it. I find it inexplicable but this is a case where very large game defects somehow do not stop a game from being fun. To be honest I feel like I'm having fun in spite of the game.
Snowboard kids is in its simplest form an average kart racer on snow boards. The simple control scheme makes the target audience quite apparent, however if your willing to forgo your fear of girls in bunny suits and large noses (you might be into that kind thing anyway) and you have a few mates around with a similar way of thinking then its possible to get quite a considerable amount of fun from this game.