Pixel Boarder Xbox Indie Review

An XboxHornet review by WDesm

“Hilarious Physics-Based Snowboarding”

Physics-based games are always a tricky thing to master: If you don’t get the physics both realistic and accessible, the game either becomes an exercise in frustration or too simplistic to appreciate. In Pixel Boarder, you control a crudely-drawn snowboarder as he precariously cruises down the hill. By the way, that sentence is meant in the most literal way possible: The charm of this game is the amazing pixelation of the graphics and the finesse of the gameplay.

Pixel Boarder, perhaps more so than any other retro-style game appearing on XBLIG, really tries to nail the blocky, crude graphics of the yesteryear. The options page includes the choice of 32,16,8, and 4-bit graphics, each a charmingly faithful rendition of a forgotten generation on your highly customizable ‘boarder. Like a perfect pair, the music matches the spirit of the visuals, using chiptunes collected from a handful of talented musicians across the internet.

The controls are well-designed, with each analog stick controlling their respective leg of the snowboarder. By flexing or stretching the legs, you can control your momentum and your motion, and hopefully land the big jump. The controls are responsive, and touch sensitive, so if you screw up a jump, you’ll know that it was your fault, but thankfully, there is a slow-mo mode to time your response better, and a replay mode to view what works…and what doesn’t. The physics aren’t ideal, but there is a method to their madness, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be pulling off stylish triple backflips like it’s nobody’s business.

The game doesn’t offer any form of multiplayer, but a game like this doesn’t require one. What does help for replayability, as shown in its XBLA Big Brother “Trials HD”, is a form of “stage design,” so that your crazy designs can be shared with your friends – sadly, such a feature is lacking. Even without such a feature, however, the hilarious combination of pixel snowboarding and physics-induced chaos shouldn’t be missed.

Game Score 8/10

Dowload a free trial of the game here.

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