Reviewed: November 29, 2010
Released: November 4, 2010
Every day I wake up and wonder if this is the day that EA will announce a new next-gen SSX game. Itís been so long since weíve had a great snowboarding game that was all about fun and not so serious. And then Konami announced Adrenalin Misfits and I dared to get my hopes up. While not nearly as hard, complex, or as insanely addictive as SSX, Adrenalin Misfits does manage to offer up a simple snow (and surf) boarding experience that tries to make some use of the Kinect motion input sensors.|
On the surface, the game looks great with slick detailed graphics, cool course designs, and an interesting assortment of characters. You can even use your own Xbox Avatar as your boarder, which will certainly require a trip to the Marketplace to purchase the appropriate snowboarding attire. The game doesnít bother with a story or even a tournament. You simply make your way through several series of tutorials and events that take you from the icy slopes to tropical waterfalls and whitewater rapids to fiery lava fields and even into the desert.
Despite some great navigation controls, the menus and presentation are actually quite annoying to the point where you will spend more time getting to the game than playing it. Rather than progressing to the next sequential event in the series you must wade through the entire sequence of menus, reselecting your character and your board, even if donít want to change anything. At least the default choices are your last picks, so its only a matter of holding up your hand to advance through each menu option unless you want to change something.
Once in the game youíll find a standard set of snowboarding moves and tricks; lean to steer, crouch and jump to catch air, and twist your body to spin and flip. Initially, I was doing actual 360ís in front of my TV and then I learned you only have twist at the waist to achieve the same effect. The game seemed to have trouble tracking a lot of my moves, especially crouching for speed and leaning for really sharp turns, and especially raising and stomping your foot to activate a power-up. You have to make sure your foot is away from your body so the Kinect can track its rise and fall, and even then itís hit and miss. I often felt like I looked like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant, and as those series of embarrassing photos at the end of the race proved Ė I did.
Yes, much like all or most of the other Kinect games, the sensor will snap all sorts of embarrassing photos. Itís almost as if there is an internal AI that senses when you look your most ridiculous and takes a picture at that very moment. Oh well Ė thatís half the fun of these party-style games.
I really enjoyed the graphics, especially the environments that ranged from snowcapped mountains to lush jungle rivers with plunging waterfalls and even tracks in the desert and through lava fields. The animal characters were creative and designed like edgy boarders. I was waiting for Spuds MacKenzie to come out of retirement. For as artificially cool as they were, I preferred to use my own Avatar Ė it just seemed more personal. The music was fairly generic and fit the theme of the game while the voice acting was intentionally over the top.
There wasnít much structure to the game and I quickly got bored of going through all the menus just to advance to the next race in the series, which ultimately unlocked a new course. The split-screen multiplayer is fun in theory but make sure you have plenty of room. The game requires players to hold their arms out to their side to glide when you are in the air, so if you are playing side by side you need at least that much room plus 8-10 feet of space to the TV.
Adrenaline Misfits is a good idea and even a good game to some degree, but it suffers from too much style and too little substance. Give me a career mode or even a structured tournament. Instead, I got a large assortment of races divided up into multiple mandatory menu excursions. Little kids will fall in love with the characters and naturally adapt to the motion-controlled gameplay, but older gamers will likely want to wait for something with a bit more polish.