North American cover art
|Release date(s)||Nintendo 64
Snowboard Kids, originally released in Japan as Snobow Kids (スノボキッズ), is a snowboarding video game for the Nintendo 64. It was developed by Racdym and published by Atlus. The game features 10-year-old children (excluding Linda, who is 11) who snowboard down various courses, not necessarily involving snow. Many reviewers compared its style to that of the Mario Kart series. Snowboard Kids supports the Rumble Pak. On January 21, 1999 an enhanced port of the original game was released in Japan only for the Sony PlayStation, under the title of Snobow Kids Plus.
The 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 only unlockable character in the game. The characters have three aspects which effect 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 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 a six years, until a new entry in the series, SBK: Snowboard Kids, was released for the Nintendo DS in 2006. The series has not been revisited since the DS release.
- Snowboard Kids guide at StrategyWiki