pawsoffury's Surf's Up (Xbox 360) review

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Oversimplified, unimaginative film licensed tat.

Surfs Up is unsurprisingly the game tie-in to the movie released by Sony Animation last year (2007) which features everyones current favourite Indiana Jones darling (stupid name included) Shia LaBeouf as a surfing penguin named Cody.

It would seem certain from this release that our French friends Ubisoft have obtained the license deal with Sony pictures to produce ongoing games for their animated movies. This title being the second outing for them with their previous effort being the rather poor Open Season. It's a fair guessto make at this point the film license rapists THQ must have been outbid or instead saved their revenue pots to keep the Spongebob rights or they no-doubt would have spunked over this in their own disgustingly feeble methods too.

Publishers aside, lets move onto the game.
Surfs up plays very loosely with the Tony Hawks game formula of skating and performing tricks for points. I say loosely as strictly the games levels aren't open world like the Pro Skater series and unlike the downhill jam games there isn't any actual racing going on either.

You play as the previously mentioned Cody as he attempts to win a prestigious surfing contest held by penguins and generally be the best of the best all while talking and behaving like some punk from the Z Boys. That's about as far as the game goes in explaining the story. If you haven't seen the film then you're shit out of luck as you won't have a clue who any of the other characters are or what they're doing. Pretty standard fair with these licensed film games I find.

Levels (of which there are roughly 20) progress in a straight forward A-B line with an ongoing 'wave' on one side of your screen which you traverse on your surfboard to build yourself momentum and launch from to perform tricks.

At the start of each run you'll be given certain conditions to meet to gain medals and effectively pass the course. Most of which are points goal based, though others include collecting hidden statues and passing through a certified number of marked gates. None of these tasks throughout the entire game are in any way challenging and you'll more than likely complete them without even trying.

To build up your run points you need to get Cody (your penguin) to perform tricks as he goes from start to finish. Unlike the complicated trick combinations of Tony Hawk or Amped you simply press 'A' or 'B' after launching from the wave and your penguin will perform a trick at random. The 'X' button is your grab and 'Y' is your super special stoke trick which builds up after performing enough basic tricks. You'll occasionally have to grind a few obstacles appearing in the water and navigate breakable barriers you can speed boost through which combined with your tricks adds to your total score.

You can unlock other characters featured in the film to surf as who all have varying attributes, some turn quicker and some build up their stoke meter quicker. In reality though it's just a different set of tricks to play with. Whoever you use, the game will still take little to no effort whatsoever to finish.

Whilst the game mechanics are incredibly simple, it's actually presented rather well aside from the occasional glitch crash and that judging certain jumps can be somewhat trial and error.
The game breaking problem is that the goals are just far too easy. It's fair enough to perhaps provide a child-like goal for a bronze medal type requirement, but I don't think it would have been overly-taxing on the end user to perhaps make the hardest run tasks require you to master the game as it were.

As it stands it's easy enough to complete and gain the full 1000 gamerscore in less than 5 hours.

This makes it completely un-recommendable as a purchase and barely as a rental. Considering most pre-pubescents seem to have little to no trouble swearing their way through Halo 3's multi-player and have no problems controlling their Spartan in the ways of tea-bagging it's over simplifying something for no good reason.

It's not the first time Ubisoft have dumbed down a game beyond all reasonable amounts. Open Season, TMNT, Naruto all exactly the same issues. Unless all French kids are retarded it's pretty much a given that if a licensed game is made by Ubisoft it'll be a piece of piss to finish.
So unless you (or your children) are a huge fan of the film which is unlikely as Happy Feet pretty much shitted all over it at the time of release it's really quite avoidable. Which is a shame as with a little more difficulty it wouldn't have been so bad.

Good: Workable & unique game mechanic, cute penguins, easy 1000GS.
Bad: No difficulty, unfunny dialogue & vague purpose, short length.

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