There’s a careful balance to the game’s momentum as you carve a line through the snow with the edges of the Xbox controller’s thumbsticks, and replaying levels usually yields rewards. Your best lines are always earned, rather than staged.
That said, Shredders doesn’t have a command list to detail its tricks, which means you’ll have to rely on your memory to pull off its many permutations of flips, spins and grabs. Tips delivered via the game’s loading screen fill in the gaps but, thanks to the Xbox’s SSD, they go by so fast that you barely get to appreciate them.
Shredders feels like an endearing underdog in the shadow of Ubisoft’s successful open-world extreme-sports game Riders Republic. That title may be a delight to play but it’s spiritually bankrupt, and fails to connect to the culture of the action sports it covets.
Foampunch’s game, however, features professional snowboarders like Arthur Longo, Tor Lundström, Leanne Pelosi (and many more) in first-time voice acting roles, who crack jokes and refer to their sport in a cute and mostly inclusive manner. Outsiders unfamiliar with the lingo are welcomed on board without issue, while those in the know will get a lot from the game’s many references, even if its writing is occasionally hammy.
Foampunch wisely chose to forgo facial animation in Shredders, with the boarders’ features covered up by masks and goggles. It’s not unrealistic and doesn’t detract from the game’s charm, and the decision allowed the developer to spend big in other areas, such as sound and visuals.
Shredders doesn’t take itself too seriously. The campaign is split across several varied mountainous environments, and many of the missions, which include chasing a van down a cliff, breaking tree branches and threading a trick through the letters of a giant sign, are wonderfully silly.
The main story can be beaten in about four hours, though there are dozens of side missions too. The game isn’t particular about mission criteria, which helps its pacing. You’re free to replay missions and try to improve your score. But you’re not likely to come against any serious brick walls.
Shredders knows how to make you feel cool. It’s at its best when you just want to tune out of the missions and shred, aided by the pumping original soundtrack by Ghent-based producer Jennifur.
The game’s multiplayer component is exciting too. If you’re online, other players populate the world around you, allowing you to zip up behind them and follow them through the snow. It makes the experience feel connected, and it’ll only grow more compelling as more players pick it up.
With its grassroots indie charm, Shredders really owns its limitations. The game will resonate most with those tapped into contemporary snowboarding culture but can satisfy anyone who wants to lose themselves to moreish gameplay and a killer soundtrack. As an Xbox Game Pass title, it’s a day-one download, and well worth an evening’s play, even if you never touch it again. It’s not going to change the world but Shredders is an action-sports game that feels sensational to play – and that alone is no easy task.
- Fluid controls let you carve powder like a pro
- Superb soundtrack to complement your trick training
- Laidback minimalist approach makes it easy to enjoy
- Solid gags and references for snowboarding nerds
- Minor technical issues but nothing to halt moment-to-moment enjoyment
- Hammy writing might not land with everybody
- Needs better resources for learning the harder flips and spins
- Not playable without a controller on PC