Shaun White Snowboarding (SWS)
Without doubt Shaun White snowboarding offers the best graphics of all the snowboarding games currently available. The concept of big, full, open mountains works really well. Sprinkled across each mountain are a series of challenges which can be tackled either alone or with friends online. In fact, you can play all of SWS offline or online. Though, of course, it’s a lot more fun to play with friends. Either way, you must make your way to a challenge marker and give it a go. In multiplayer, you’ll be able to choose whom to invite to a challenge and then they can either accept or reject. It’s a smart system that works well.
The SSX series has been known primarily for one thing: tricks. The stunts users can pull of are visually stunning and make for an endless amount of fun. Unlike many snowboarding titles, SSX 3 restricts its courses to a single mountain. While this may seem like a negative, it approaches from a different point of view by giving the player the ability to “conquer the mountain”, learning every nook and cranny of the slopes to maximize their points. With a wide variety of characters each with their own signature move and a good soundtrack, SSX 3 is one snowboarding title I highly recommend.
1080 Snowboarding may be one of the hardest snowboarding games ever created, but in that difficulty lies the fun. Where this game lacks in fancy visuals and diverse character models, it makes up for in technicality. Positioning your board just right is crucial in landing those big jumps, and the slightest error will quickly have you falling down the mountain face-first. 1080 Snowboarding may not have the best of graphics, but it does capture what it’s really like to snowboard excellently. Freshly powdered snow will leave a small cloud as you whiz through it, and the familiar “whoosh” sound as you zoom down the mountain all aid in the awesome realistic experience.
Coolboarders 3 is markedly different from its predecessors (and many other snowboarding games), in that instead of boarding down a wide-open mountain, players zoom down particularly narrow passages. The focus is on speed and races can get fairly crowded; to aid with the bunching, Coolboarders 3 added a punching mechanism that allows you to slow down your opponents by effectively smacking them around. One of the paramount features of Coolboarders 3 is the sheer variety of characters that are available.
There are over ten stock characters, each far different from the rest in terms of both looks and skills, and an additional eight secret characters that can be unlocked by completing various challenges. There’s also a bonus level included once you complete the game called “avalanche”, where you are dropped out of a helicopter to race for your life from the crumpling mountain behind you!
While it seems like almost every approach to a snowboarding video game has been done, it’s my guess that each New Year that comes will bring along with it something new to give to all you snowboarding video game fans out there. Hopefully this short list has given you some insight into the world of the best snowboarding video games.