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Sky Surfer

- Sky Surfer
Publisher: Idea Factory
Number Of Players: 1
Release Date: Available Now

If you've ever wanted to jump out of an airplane and then spin over and over until you die of boredom, this is the game for you, otherwise, just pretend that contact with anything having to do with this game will give you Ebola.

Sky Surfer, like many bad games could have been great, has a great premise. You leap from a plane and then perform a series of tricks using your airboard to earn points, after which you'll deploy a parachute in an effort to ride air currents to your landing spot. Sure, it's a great concept, and had the control scheme actually followed a tried-and-true design like something from Tony Hawk, the game could have worked beautifully.

But no, the execution of the tricks was handled in such a fashion that you'll probably have a nervous breakdown before you can pull off a simple stunt. See, you have to fist center the boarder in the air, then use ALL of the O,X triangle and square buttons in succession (in differnt patters of course) to start a trick. The right analog stick will spin you, but that's about it. If you ever get the hand of pulling off the tricks you find a wonderful surprise: there aren't hundreds of tricks to pull off. In fact, there aren't even a hundred. You get a whopping 13 tricks, the majority of them just variations on the a hold and spin.

Sky Surfer has a whopping two gameplay modes. First, there's Dive to Air, where you spend a minute and a half free-falling, desperately trying to pull of ANY tricks (a sucessful trick nabs you a little extra time), then pull out your parachute and attempt to touch-down in a landing zone. If that non-stop roller coaster of fun doesn't float your boat, you can do a little floating of your own -- literally -- in the Beat Ballon mode. A huge fan keeps you elevated while you try to pop baloons. Of the two modes, this one is marginally more fun, but it's still a loser gameplay wise.

Graphically, the game looks like a PlayStation2 tech demo, offering nothing amazing or on the calibur of any of the other games in the PS2's current library. The textures are simple, and the player models, while not horribly done, aren't really all that detailed either. Worst of all, the game looks NOTHING like the screenshots we saw early in the game's development cycle, even if they were touched up.

Sky Surfer's music is a weak blend of J-pop and synth pop, but it's nothing special. The effects, like the wind rushing by, and the parachute popping open, are good, but not great. Like most of this game, the sound is simply average, and on a system like this, average just won't cut it, especially with such a strong launch library.

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