Crossboard 7 Review

By on December 28, 2010

A cross between here and nowhere.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

There’s a few things to be said while playing CrossBoard 7 for the Xbox Kinect – unfortunately none of them can be mentioned in this article. The game literally asks to be thrown out the door thanks to awkward controls, a host of annoying characters, and generally mediocre gameplay.

CrossBoard 7 is a crossboard game for Kinect where you have to race down slopes and other terrain against other racers. While this would be delightfully simple to accomplish with a standard controller, the sub-par implementation of Kinect motion controls means that you can get extremely frustrated trying to get your character to go the right way. The game is kind enough to include a ‘Trials’ section which you will guide you through the control scheme and other elements of the game. Simply stand sideways and lean towards the screen to accelerate, or lean forward or backward to steer left or right. You can also jump and pull off a few tricks, as well as pick up the occasional powerup during a race. But as easy as all of this sounds, the controls are just so bad that you almost always end up coming in last place.

Once you’ve gone through the Trials to learn the basics of the game, you will unlock the first level of each of the game’s different modes. There’s a standard downhill race, Downhill Slalom where you have to pass through flag checkpoints, Fly High where you have to get the most airtime, Balloon Buster where you have to pop balloons, and a few other modes that are just too painful to mention but pretty much recycle one of the other game modes. But the game’s flaw isn’t in that it doesn’t offer a variety of game modes, it’s just that it doesn’t play as expected.

While leaning forward or backward would seem like a natural way to control your character as you glide over snowy peaks, the truth is that you’re never sure how far you need to lean in order to actually move your character. I found that in some races that just a subtle change in my posture would send me flying into a wall, while other times I had to bend over backwards just to get through a turn. It’s this disconnect that makes your experience unbearable at times, and it certainly doesn’t get any better when you play side by side with a second player.

Then there’s the issue of the powerups. If you’re lucky enough to manage to pick one up during a race, you have to stomp your front foot in order to activate it. Powerups range from speed boosts activated by cheering loudly, homing missiles, and other potentially useless items. Activating the powerup with my foot was a complete joke, as my character would then either brake, jump, or just not register that I was frantically crushing my foot into the floor to get a lousy pickup to activate.

Visually the game is another let-down. The characters you play as are supposedly monsters from who knows where, but thankfully you can play as your Xbox avatar in the game. The game features some of the most annoying voicework ever, with excessive uses of ‘dude’ and ‘awesome’, as if this was a game straight out of Vanilla Ice’s collection. There’s just nothing here to keep you playing for more than 15 minutes, despite the various game modes on offer. Sure, you can unlock all 50 boards and harder levels, but when the controls are so frustrating and the audio is so grating on your ears, all you want to do is exit the game as quickly as humanly possible.

CrossBoard 7 is a poor attempt to harness the Kinect, and it certainly plays like it was rushed through the development. If some more time was dedicated to actually tweaking the controls and recognition, you might actually spend some enjoyable moments with the game. But since this isn’t the case, all you’re left with is a game that was cobbled together in a quick attempt to get in early on the Kinect lineup. Easily one of the weaker Kinect titles to come out yet, CrossBoard 7 is a straightforward disaster that should be avoided for the sake of sanity.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
4
While the initial downhill surge is fun, it’s short-lived thanks to the crap controls.
GRAPHICS
5
Average level design and over-the-top character design don’t do the game any favors.
SOUND
2
Most. Annoying. Ever.
VALUE
3
Rope in a second player to join so you can crash into walls together.
FUN FACTOR
2
If you want to dislocate your foot, go for the powerups.
OVERALL
3.7
Could have been a lot more bearable if it was properly tested before going retail

About

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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Comments
  • Dave

    i think this review is overly harsh.
    i enjoyed it greatly.


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