I used to go snowboarding a whole lot. I was a multi-year season pass holder at our local ski resort, and there was one year in particular where I would go out about twice per week for the entire season. Snowboarding is tons of fun in real life.

I also have tons of affection for snowboarding games, dating all the way back to the 1990s. I’ve played all sorts of them, from Cool Boarders to 1080° Snowboarding to SSX to Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip for the freaking Wii (that was the one where you needed to use the Balance Board to pretend you were snowboarding IRL). The only snowboarding game I can think of off the top of my head that I didn’t like was Cool Boarders 4 — it was a huge disappointment coming off of the absolutely brilliant Cool Boarders 3.

Here in 2022 — 23 years after the launch of Cool Boarders 4 — I have a second game to add to that list: Shredders.

I was honestly super excited about this game. I had high hopes that this could be a pretty decent, sort-of-janky return to the digital snowboarding lifestyle (I don’t always mind a little jank in my games). If you look at the snowboarding titles I namedropped above, you might have noticed that it’s been a bit since I’d actually played one. I was really itching to get back on a board and carve some hills.

But the first time I looked at an in-game menu in Shredders, I knew I was in for a rough ride. Just look at this thing:

Shredders - Menu

And the mission menus look like a PowerPoint presentation that your college professor made at 2 a.m. after half a bottle of scotch:

Shredders - Menu

Unfortunately, this isn’t even the biggest issue with the game. I could deal with some ugly menus if the gameplay was really good. The thing that makes Shredders really difficult to enjoy for me is the control layout.

I asked three people what button they would assign “jump” to on an Xbox controller for a snowboarding game. The answer was unanimous: A. A is the obvious button for jump. You know what Shredders assigns it to? RT. Yeah, freaking RT. And then R is your grab button (for right-handed grabs, L will grab with your character’s left hand), but you can’t do a proper grab without also holding the right stick in a direction (different directions for different grabs). This means you’ve got your pointer finger on the grab button, your middle finger on the jump button, and your thumb on the right stick. If I play this thing for 15 to 20 minutes straight, my right hand starts cramping up, even on the mega-comfortable Xbox controller.

So what about the face buttons? Well, if you screw up, you can “rewind” (or “Reshred” as the game calls it) by holding X, and you can restart the course by holding B. Y switches the game into drone mode (which is just a free-flying camera). A? That does nothing during gameplay (but it is the “action” button in menus).

So you can change it manually, right? Well, actually you can’t change it at all. At least on Xbox, your controls are mapped the way they’re mapped and you just have to deal with it. If I were able to change this, I think I would try moving jump to A and grabs to LT and RT. That would feel a lot nicer, I imagine.


Also, the game feels like it’s in slow motion for some reason. I would love to try this at maybe 1.3x the current speed — that would probably give this some of the oomph that it needs.

Update: After the day-one patch, the game feels faster. Is is the 1.3x that I wanted? It’s hard to say, but I almost want to say yes here?

Another issue I constantly ran into was objectives not being clearly marked or defined. In one example, the objective says to do a double backflip, but you are supposed to actually do a double backflip exactly synchronized with the other two boarders. That latter part isn’t explicitly stated (though if you fail enough times, one of the boarders will tell you to try to match your speed with theirs).

Even worse, though, is the times when you biff something and end up sending the camera under the game world into a nightmare netherworld of strobing light. Seriously, I worry that this could be an epilepsy trigger for some people, so be warned if you have sensitivity to flashing lights. Seeing this happen over and over again (it wasn’t a rare occurrence) was giving me a headache. It seemed to get worse once I reached the third area of the game, Petrov.


But it’s not like the folks at Foam Punch didn’t put any effort into Shredders. The board physics are actually really nice. I love the way the nose and tail of your board will bend under your weight if you land on them, or the way the board vibrates when riding on icy terrain. As someone who used to snowboard a lot, those things in particular felt really genuine to me.

Of course, there’s also stuff like this:

I actually really like the goofy character animations during cutscenes — everybody looks like one of those dancing balloon things you see at used car sales lots. No joke, the cutscenes almost always make me smile, because these weird, faceless characters are so overly expressive that it’s hard to not love them. I imagine them all as these weird Gumby people, and that makes me kind of happy.

In fact, whenever I was just watching cutscenes, I was actually enjoying the game quite a bit. The story isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it’s a lot of fun. And the voice acting is ridiculous and oftentimes over-the-top, but that kind of works for a snowboarding game that just leans into this goofiness.


Shredders has a lot of heart, but it can be really janky at times. It feels way, way better after the day-one patch, but it’s still held back by its controller layout and some technical issues. It has a lot of potential though, and I hope it can be patched to greatness, because I really, really wanted to love this game.

Disclaimer: I was given a review code for Shredders for Xbox Series S, but the opinions expressed in this article are my own.

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