Cubed Snowboarding Review

Cubed Snowboarding, the latest in the Cubed family of games from Nocanwin, is now available from the app store. Featuring retro graphics, simple controls, and randomly-generated runs, Cubed Snowboarding has become my new obsession and my favorite Nocanwin game to date.

Cubed Snowboarding Pros:

  • Terrific retro art design and super smooth animations
  • Controls are simple and responsive
  • Fun obstacles to avoid and elements to use for getting huge air and pulling off great tricks
  • GameCenter integration for a global leaderboard

Cubed Snowboarding Cons:

  • Causes sleep loss and thumb cramps
  • Needs toggle to switch arrow functions

Cubed Snowboarding sees you controlling a pixelated X-gamer with a penchant for powder. He is self-propelled, switching between three riding lanes as he pans back and forth across your screen. When he gets to the u-turn that sends him back the other way, he’ll need to slide into the lane with the spinning blue icon to continue his run. Miss it, and he’ll go careening off the edge. Similarly, if you try to jump lanes where there are no lanes, you’ll immediately die. Trees and rocks must be avoided while crashing through snowmen will reward you with bonus points. As you pick up speed and get airborne, you’ll be able to front flip and/or backflip, grind on rails, and hit the quarter pipe for points. If you don’t land a flip properly, your yard sale will end your run and cost you a mess of points. Complete a run and you’ll snag a nice bonus. As you progress through your ten runs, the length, max speed, variety of elements, and difficulty will all increase, as will the possibility of bigger point totals. You must run all ten in order, as there is no restart button. Your final score is the aggregate of all ten runs.

The retro visuals are in keeping with the look and tone of the other Cubed games. The blues and whites give the game a cold feeling that is appropriate for the winter sport. Animations are super smooth and you can tweak your exit speed and your rotational speed when flipping to suit your liking. The sense of speed and the feeling of being airborne are palpable, and any mistakes we made felt like they were our own fault rather than an issue with the game itself. The soundtrack is minimal, opting instead to provide a handful of sound effects rather than hit us with another chiptune song. The controls use arrows on either side of the upper portion of the screen to switch lanes, with the white arrow shifting the rider to his left and the blue arrow shifting him to the right. You must constantly consider which lane he is in and which direction he is facing to figure out which way to move safely. Arrows in the lower portion of the screen control front or backflips. Our only suggestion would be to offer a toggle to switch the flipping arrows with the lane-shifting arrows, as it might feel a bit more comfortable to use the lower arrows for the more frequent lane changes. Otherwise, the game is utterly fantastic.

Replay value is great, as the randomly-generated runs keep things fresh and the possibility of topping our previous score is ever present. GameCenter integration provides a leaderboard to compare scores with other gamers. A universal app for $0.99, Cubed Snowboarding is a 5-Dimple stud.