Product Type: Ubisoft Nintendo DS games
Newest Review: ... 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 additio... more
Thumbs up for Surf's up!
Surf's Up (DS)
Member Name: magenta23
Surf's Up (DS)
Advantages: Fun to play, easy to pick up...
Disadvantages: ...not so easy to put down!
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.
Summary: Makes a change from surfing the www!
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