Remember Amped, the Xbox-exclusive snowboarding game series that focused on you performing tricks and had a silly sense of humour? Shredders is a bit like it.
Offering up numerous free-roam slopes, Shredders lets you entertain yourself in any way you please. Well, once you’ve made a dent in its story missions, anyway. Casting you as the snowboarding half of Shredageddon, a duo hoping to make it big on social media, Shredders has a very silly story that is genuinely humorous at times. Although it won’t be to everyone’s tastes. And as you move from one mission to the next, you’ll soon learn everything you need to pull of gnarly ticks. Well, almost.
You see, Shredders doesn’t do the best job of explaining everything to you. “Use the right analogue stick to wind up a spin before you jump,” it tells you. Then it also tells you to hold up on the right stick while holding the right shoulder button to perform a certain grab. So, how do you combine the two? You use the left stick to spin, that’s how. And already you should have an idea of the hand gymnastics required to succeed.
In all honestly though, learning to perform a variety of spins and grabs isn’t that hard in the grand scheme of things once you know what to do. Performing backflips and frontflips with the left stick isn’t hard either. What is hard, is performing backflips or frontflips while also spinning. It’s way more complicated than it needs to be, and so when you start being asked to perform such tricks, and combine them with grabs, you might start tearing your hair out. Or maybe you’ll somehow have the knack. Maybe.
It’s a shame that Shredders just isn’t a little more welcoming and effective at explaining its mechanics, as there’s a lot to like here. The visuals are nice on Xbox Series X (but a bit blurry on Series S), and when you do pull off an impressive trick you’ll be proud of yourself. There are some nifty features, too, like being to watch replays of the tricks you’ve just done, and join up with friends for some multiplayer snowboarding action. Its menus are basic and not very well presented though.
As mentioned earlier, while you’ll want to push on with the game’s story – at first to unlock features, and then perhaps for the challenges it offers – you can also simply chill with Shredders if you wish. Whether you want to go at a steady pace and enjoy your surroundings or speed to the bottom of the slopes is up to you. And also whether you pull off any spins, grabs, grinds or flips along the way. And when you want to start from the top again, you can either do so via the menu, or make use of either a snowmobile or a drone.
While it’s reminiscent of Amped, then, Shredders isn’t the replacement we were hoping it to be. Completing its story will take a handful of hours or so. After that, how much time you spend with it will depend on how keen you are to master all of the challenges it throws your way, or simply have fun entertaining yourself. There are items of clothing to unlock to customise your snowboarder, too, but they’re not all that interesting and are purely for cosmetic purposes.
If you’re a snowboarding fan, there’s a good chance you’ll get some hours of quality entertainment out of Shredders, especially if you manage to master its trick system. That’s a pretty big if though, as there’s some frustration involved. Still, available at a budget price, and included in Game Pass, it’s a decent new addition to a genre that’s pretty underrepresented these days, and with a low barrier to entry. It’s just a shame it isn’t a little more polished, and welcoming.
Shredders Review – GameSpew’s Score