North American cover art
|Release date(s)||Nintendo 64
Snowboard Kids, スノボキッズ (sunobowkizzu?), is a snowboarding video game for the Nintendo 64. It was developed by Racdym and published by Atlus. Many reviewers compared its style to that of the Mario Kart. An enhanced port, Snowboard Kids Plus, was released in Japan only in January 1999 for the original PlayStation console.
Several kids are arguing about their snowboarding skills. The debate escalates to the point where they decide to hold a snowboarding tournament to determine who is the best. One character, Shinobin, has no involvement whatsoever until he is unlocked by the players.
In addition to the usual gameplay of a snowboarding game, Snowboard Kids adds "Shots" (special weapons used to attack players) and items which can help the player, hinder other players, or both.
The game has nine main courses. Although some of the courses are snowy mountains, many are courses that would be unorthodox for snowboarding in the real world. Such courses include an amusement park, a desert, a vast valley, a dark highway, and a Japanese village during the cherry blossom festival. Each track has a unique shape, containing various obstacles, hazards, and short-cuts.
There were several game mechanics that were unique to Snowboard Kids from other snowboard games and racing games at the time. One was the addition of the second item slot, allowing each player to carry a shooting item and support item (such as a rock, or invisibility) at the same time. Unlike many other 'Kart style' racing games, players were required to pay 100 gold in order to collect an item during a race. Gold could be obtained either through performing tricks or collecting coins scattered across the course. All courses also required players to race down the hill for multiple laps. Once a player had reached the bottom of the hill, he or she would need to pass through the lift gate to be transported back to the top of the hill, and could not be attacked by other players in this transition.
Snowboard Kids features six playable characters: Slash, Nancy, Jam, Linda, Tommy, and Shinobin, the later being the only unlockable character in the game, becoming available after the player completes all nine tracks. The characters have three aspects which affect their racing style: speed, which determines the straight line speed of the character; corner, which determines how quickly the character is able to turn; and trick, which determines the speed at which tricks are executed to earn the player coins.
The game was generally well received by critics. IGN gave the game a 8 out of 10 score, favorably comparing the game to the Mario Kart series, referring to the game as "a solid title that incorporates the graphic and gameplay styles of Mario Kart into a snowboarding environment. The result is a satisfyingly cute snow racer that's sure to please gamers more interested in a simplistic shreddin' experience than a realistic one." Nintendo Life gave the game a 7 out of 10 rating, concluding that the game had "bold, colourful graphics, tons of charm, memorable tunes and, most importantly, tight gameplay, Snowboard Kids is worthy of a place in anyone’s collection. Atlus’s first foray into the world of snowboarding on the Nintendo 64 may not present a particularly lengthy challenge or deep experience, but it can always be relied upon to provide a quick blast of fun now and then, alone or with friends."
The game would lead to several future releases in the series. In 1999, a sequel, Snowboard Kids 2 was released for the Nintendo 64. The series laid dormant for seven years, until a new entry in the series, SBK: Snowboard Kids, was released for the Nintendo DS in 2006.
- Snowboard Kids guide at StrategyWiki