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I'd read a really positive review of this game by another dooyoo member some while back and had kept an eye out for this when browsing the DS games. I find that many a DS game has been disappointing, and now unless it's something that really really appeals I generally only buy once they are in the sale, to cut my losses if it's rubbish (and then they go on ebay.) I spotted this in the sale games in Tesco for a bargain £4, and felt at that price I couldn't lose.
Most spin off games from films as a general rule, aren't great especially if the films a good one, the games don't live up to the expectation and generally sell off the back of the film having a good fan base. I must admit I've not seen Surf's Up, but it really doesn't matter because this game holds it's own.
The game is rated 3+, but don't think that makes it a kid's game. I'm addicted and I'm...well, a big kid shall we say! All the rating means it's it's easy enough for a 3 year old to master and has no adult content.
The best way I can describe this game is Mario Kart on water. If you are a fan of Mario Kart, I can't see you not enjoying Surf's Up.
There are two types of gameplay. The first option is free surf. Under free surf there are further options, these are as follows-
RACE- Fairly self explanatory, you race against seven other characters and can choose how many laps of the course.
TIME ATTACK- See how many laps you can do in a given time.
LAST CHANCE - Basically keep going as long as you can with out wiping out (coming off your board)
BIG Z CHALLENGE - Race against the Big Z character.
Although the free surf options are good for getting into the game but I have mainly been playing in Championship mode, here you complete 3 courses, with the aim of ranking in the top four, and completing the 'last bird standing' course to win the cup. There are five cups to win and getting high scores and winning gold in these cups unlock the following ones.
In addition to unlocking new courses, achieving high scores also unlocks new characters. All in all there are 10 characters to unlock, all with different strengths and weaknesses, for example some may be excellent for speed but rubbish at performing tricks and points awarded for tricks count towards your overall rankings, so choose wisely!
Although it may be unfair to compare the two, Mario Kart lovers will see similarities in Surf's Up. The way the races are structured and the tools that can be collected are particularly familiar. Of course, I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, Mario Kart is in my opinion one of the greatest classic computer games and for Surf's Up to come close in terms of gameplay I don't think is bad at all. In fact, for DS it has some extra features that really use the consoles capabilities to it's full potential, something the Mario Kart DS version was lacking.
One thing I thought may be difficult for this game is to keep the courses fresh. With a surfing game, it's all water right? Aren't all the courses going to looking the same, well yes of course they have their similarities, but in actual fact the unlockable courses get progressively more exciting and demanding with more complicated twists and turns, ramps and obstacles. One problem, I had not forseen however is the problems with the characters. With the exception of a few, they're all penguins, yes? When they are all in a group going along together they look very similar and a little difficult to work out which one you are! After a while of playing you get used to their subtle differences and soon can pick them out more easily. Maybe having different colour boards or something may have helped with this.
The controls are easy to pick up, at the start of every race, and when ever you wipe out, you must paddle by pressing the A button before you can jump onto your board. I liked this, a nicely thought out detail and though a little annoying if you come off, a great delay for an opponent if you can get them off the board. As I mentioned there are some great fun items or tools to pick up along the way to help, these are disguised as 'Reggie Belafonte's' Toolboxes and each toolbox will have a helpful tool in it such as a Floating blowfish mine, that you can leave in the water to trip up other players, or a nitro squid to increase you speed, for example. The floating blowfish seem to make up about 80% of the tools uncovered but I like that some are rarer than others.
I mentioned the way this game utilises the capabilities of the DS, and two main features in the race modes show off the touch screen whilst still using the buttons like a regular controller-
PERFORMING TRICKS- Whilst surfing the course you come across ramps and drops which allow the player to remain airborne for some amount of time. Whilst in the air, the character can perform tricks. The race screen is followed on the top screen of the DS. The bottom (touch) screen is where you pick which tricks to do. Whilst in the air, there will be four icons which appear on the bottom screen you need to touch in a sequence to perform the tricks and you are awarded points for how well they are executed. This is tricky, and at some points I've held the stylus in my mouth for these bits so I could still hover my fingers over the buttons to control the character on landing!
HARMONY- Along the courses you find a flower symbol, surf into this and you are taken into harmony mode, which again uses the bottom touch screen. Use the stylus to follow patterns as quickly as possible before they disappear to propel your character at top speed around the course.
I like the fact that the overall leader board is not done purely on finishing place in these races. A player is awarded points for finish place, tricks performed, items collected (there are seashell dotted around the course to collect), takeouts of other players and points deducted for wipeouts. I think these added factors make this more than just a fun racing game, as you need to master a number of things to get top spot.
On my first go on this game, not really sure what I was doing, I came first in the first race with no real effort, but it's not all so easy. It relatively easy to come top of the tables and get into the 'last bird standing' races but here it's gets harder. Because it's quite easy to get there, when you try desperately to come first in these final races and fail it's got that 'I was nearly there, I'll just have one more try' factor that make a good game so addictive.
The attention to detail is also great, in between courses, cut scenes form 'Surf's Up' are shown over the two DS screens. I love watching these and do not act as annoyance at all. In fact, you can watch them back on their own in the menu if you wish.
Also the music is great. Granted as with all games of this nature, it is repetitive but it has a perfectly upbeat just chilled surf sound to it that really makes you want to hit the beach. This is one game I don't play on mute as the sounds compliment the action perfectly and really add to the feel of the game.
Overall, I'm hugely impressed with 'Surf's Up.' I've been playing it about a week now (not non stop!) and have more to unlock yet. There are so many combinations of characters and courses, I can't see it getting boring for a while. Also it can be two player with the use of the DS wifi facility, and the competitive aspect would only make it more exciting.
This review is for the Nintendo DS game, Surf's Up, developed and published by Ubisoft. As the title suggests, the game is a surfing game where you can learn to surf and perform tricks.
The Surf's Up game was released across a number of consoles and the PC at a similar time, so this is a very wide release. When this happens, very often developers tend to take short cuts with the game, and tend to focus less on the features and advantages of each console. Unfortunately, they appear to have made a similar mistake with this game.
The game is really a racing game, although you can perform various tricks. You race around various locations, and whilst performing tricks, you also have a range of weapons to shoot and hinder the other racers in the game. The 3D graphics which are used in the game are impressive, and the game is easy to pick up.
The graphics in the game are good, with most of the game play being in 3D. The graphics are bright and clear however and do the job well enough. The developers make great play on the sound on this game, but it is only really average, limited sound effects and some reasonable background music, but nothing particularly amazing.
There is a championship mode in the game, which lets you play through all of the levels. There are twenty races to complete in the championship mode, and there are lots of unlockable elements to find. However, the game is just too easy, and you're likely to finish all of the twenty different levels in just one or two sittings.
There are other challenge modes available, where you can race against time, or try to beat your own score, but by the time that you've completed the championship element of the game, you're likely to be quite bored of the whole game. Once you've worked out the moves and tricks, there's not much more interest really to be had.
There is a multi player element in the game, but unfortunately the developers have decided that instead of following lead of other games, they instead would only allow multi player play if everyone has their own cartridge. There is in my view no need for this, and just limits the longevity of the game, in possibly the only element that could have made this worth buying. If you can find anyone else to play with, you can also use the Nintendo DS's online option.
The game retails for 19.99 pounds, but is currently available for 12.99 pounds on Amazon. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available at the time of writing for around five pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 3+, so is suitable for children of nearly all ages.
In summary, this is a rushed effort, which is OK, but could have been much better. The game is too easy to complete, and multi player play is made difficult by requiring everyone to have their own version of the game. The graphics and sound are average, despite the claims of the developers, and although it's worth a look given the cheap price now, there's not much longevity to be had in this game.
I cant believe this game is only £9.99 at Amazon.co.uk, I paid £25 when it first came out!! this is real good bargain.
This is based around the tournament element of the film and consists of racing as various characters around various courses, collecting objects to increase speed or throw a squid at an opponent to win races to progress through the game.
Has a lovely arcade and surf feel with players able to perform impressive tricks using a combination of button pressing and touchpad stroking, lots of unlockable content and a gentle start ease you in to this game and keep you interested for longer than average.
SOUNDS AND GRAPHICS:
A rocking licensed soundtrack really does set off this surfing feel good game and the clever use of water disguises some of the dodgier graphics, but it still holds up against most other racing/driving/sim type games.This is quality game design from start to finish.
An older game now but still one of my favourites as is easy to play looks good and sounds good too.May get a little repetitive for some but not many games can hold me as long as this, plenty to learn and unlock but not to frustrating.
I have never seen the Surfs Up feature length animation, nor had I ever had any intention to so why I decided to rent this game in the first place is beyond me.
Whilst looking at the titles on offer I noticed this game and picked it up. Maybe it was the attractive looking box (I have always had a love for water), maybe it was just a 'slip of the hand' Who knows? Whatever it was I am glad because I found a gem of a game that I would have otherwise missed.
According to the box this game is loosely based on the movie of the same name, Surf's Up is a racing game whereby all the characters are penguins and the mode of transport is a surf board. There is no actual story line, and like all racing games the objective is to win as many races as possible and end up winning the championship.
In your quest to win the championship you will need to avoid the obstacles and attacks from your opponents, however, you will find your own weapons along the way and turbo pads to assist you.
There are four characters you can choose to be when you first start this game including Cosy, Tank, Lani and Chicken Joe (who as its name suggests is a chicken and not a penguin at all).
As you progress through the game there are 6 other characters to unlock.
This game really pushes the 3 dimensional capabilities of the DS and it copes and delivers very well. The graphics are fantastic and really clear and there is a great attention to detail with the undulating water and great scenery, all topped off with really vivid colours.
The cartoon style graphics are attractive and pleasing to the eye and really complements this genre of game and adds to the enjoyment of playing it.
The music is generic 'surfer' type music and, surprisingly, I found that it did not get tedious or annoying. This is a refreshing change.
There are various comical character voice comments, which when accompanies by the music complements the overall feel of this game.
****Controls and game play****
You character is controlled using the directional pad and the A, B, X and Y buttons although the touch screen is used to perform the tricks and "killer" move combinations required to build up additional speed.
Luckily, the touch screen part does not have to be that accurate therefore it is possible to use your thumbs as opposed to messing around with the stylus and not interrupt the game play.
In the game, you complete laps around courses situated on attractive looking and very detailed ocean and river environments.
This game is like Mario Kart on the water and as such there are various short cuts on each course and there are numerous opportunities to grind, splash down or boost from ramps during each lap.
You speed up by travelling over boost arrows, collecting turbos or by performing the "killer" moves and tricks as you launch of the ramps, which are quite good fun to perform.
Running in to trees, rocks and other obstacles will obviously slow you down.
Like Mario Kart there are a number of weapons that you can pick up throughout the game by passing over the weapon boxes. Weapons include rockets, homing missiles, floating mines, blinding muck and the like. All these weapons look like fish species, which I think is quite a nice touch. There are weapons all over the place and since they can be used by both you and your opponents it leads to frantic racing with lots of position changing and some great (and eye watering) wipe outs.
Whenever you catch the air from a ramp of a waterspout you get the chance to make your character perform some tricks, which increases your speed.
As you catch the air icons will appear on the touch screen and it is simply a case a of tapping these to perform the trick. Whilst there are only four choices it is possible to link these together and perform combinations. Watching your penguin do handstands and backspins is not only satisfying, but also necessary because lengthier combinations extend the duration of the speed increase you get upon landing.
In the beginning, you'll probably feel like it's a waste of time to have to move your thumb off of the buttons and onto the touch screen every time you want to perform a trick. But after a couple of races, you won't even notice your thumb instinctively reaching for the touch screen before you connect with ramps and waterspouts
This game is really easy to pick up and play and as such I would recommend it to gamers of all age groups and abilities. My five year old nephew absolutely loves playing this and prefers it to Mario Kart at the moment.
If you want to try and make it a bit more difficult there is the option of increasing the difficulty levels, although it is still not a really difficult game, even on the hardest setting.
This game does not have loads of courses or championships and you'll probably complete the 20 races in single player mode in a few hours, however, there is a lot of replay value in the multi player options providing you can find some opponents.
Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable racer that does right by the movie. Harassing opponents with squid torpedoes and making your penguin break-dance in midair is goofy fun. You'll only get a solid afternoon or two out of the championship mode, but the multiplayer race mode can easily extend your play time by days or even weeks. Just be prepared to wait for people to show up if you're looking for opponents online
This game enables you and up to 7 friends, that's right up to 8 people! to battle it out across various courses to see who will be crowned King of the Waves.
The multi player action is fast and furious and, in my experience, can soon turn in to banter and then arguments as you start wiping each other out with the variety of weapons available. It really is good fun.
The only disadvantage of this is that all players require a copy of the game, and if your group of friends are like mine and you all share the games out then it is unlikely that you will all have a copy. We overcame this by each renting a copy and whilst overall it wasn't that cheap it worked out a lot less than a night on the town and made a refreshing change from going to the local club and watching grannies dance on alcohol and testosterone filled yobs from fighting in taxi queues. It was also a lot safer.
If you cannot get the required number of friends to join in then there is the option of connecting to the internet and finding some opponents online. In an online race you can only have a four player race, which may seem a pity but it is not such a bad thing since it takes ages to find an opponent online and it is very rare you find three other players, let alone seven of them. It appears that this game is just not that popular.
I have read of issues with playing people online in that connections fail and drop, there are time lags etc but I have never experienced these problems, ever. I only ever play online whilst at home where I know I can get a good and permanent connection, unlike in some Wifi hotspots where the connection will decrease as you move out of the zone.
****Price and availability****
Despite being an older game, it was released in September 2007, this game seems to have help its price quite well. 16 months after release I would expect many games to be in the bargain bucket section and cost under a tenner, however this does not appear to have happened with this game.
I paid £24.99 for my copy a few months back but at the time of writing I have seen this game for £17.99 (excluding P&P) from Play.com and £19.99 (excluding P&P) from Gadget-Asia.com so there is not a large price differential unlike amny other games.
This is basically Mario Kart on the water. Personally, I think that Mario Kart will remain the racing game of choice due to the large number of characters and the enormous cult following the genre has built up over the years.
With the right marketing and promotion I think that Surfs Up could get bigger than it is because it is a great game and has a lot of the characteristics of Mario Kart. The graphics are great, the sound whilst not brilliant really compliments the game, it is great fun, it is highly addictive and there is massive potential (mainly for friendly arguments and shouts of foul play) in multi player mode.
I would recommend this game to gamers of all ages and abilities and I think that there is enormous replay value especially if your mates get the game as well and I think it is a game that can be played over and over again. It is exactly like Mario Kart in this respect. I think that the replay value is so good that I decided to purchase a copy, instead of just renting it and returning it like I have done with around 95% of DS games I have played.
Surf''s Up is a surfing game set at the annual Reggie Belafonte Big Z Memorial Surf Off. 8 different characters compete in 24 action-packed races in order to win the Penguin World Surfing Championship. Players will experience the rush and thrills of surfing in exotic surf spots around Pen Gu Island, and can rip it up as one of the characters from the film