1080: Avalanche Impressions

We take a look at an updated build of Nintendo's upcoming snowboarding game.


Nintendo had an updated build of its upcoming snowboarding game 1080: Avalanche on display at a recent press event. The development team at NST set out to make the sequel just as easy to pick up and play as its predecessor, and from the looks of the current build, the team has succeeded in doing just that. The trick system essentially uses a single button for grabs, which can be modified by pressing in different directions on the analog stick or by spinning in the air. You can string together a series of tricks depending on the timing and strength of your jumps, which are monitored by a small circular meter in the center of the screen. Meanwhile, grinding can be performed by simply making contact with the object you want to grind on, whether it's a railing or some other object.

In addition to maintaining your balance while grinding, you'll occasionally have to perform a balancing act while simply speeding down the mountain. After landing a trick improperly or making a really sharp cut in the snow, your snowboarder will start to lose his or her balance, requiring you to rotate the analog stick in a certain direction to keep your him or her from completely losing balance and bailing.

Another new feature being introduced in 1080: Avalanche is the avalanche. At certain points on a course, you'll see signs telling you not to go in a particular direction, since doing so will cause an avalanche. However, avalanches can actually be quite beneficial, because they'll not only open up new pathways in the course, but they'll also create a wake of massive snowballs that will be very troublesome for any snowboarders behind you. Plus, triggering an avalanche produces a very cool destructive effect that makes the courses seem much livelier and more interactive than the courses in the previous 1080.

Only a few modes are playable in the current build of the game. There's a one-on-one mode where you have to beat another snowboarder down to the base of the mountain. There's also a slalom-style course where you have to successfully maneuver through a series of flags spread out across the course. The third playable mode is trick attack, where you have to accumulate more trick points than your competitors while maneuvering through a half-pipe. Lastly, there are time attack and multiplayer split-screen modes.

As far as graphics are concerned, the sequel's style is pretty similar to that of the original game, but you can still see plenty of influence from Wave Race: Blue Storm--another NST game. There are plenty of cool little effects, such as snow that will cling to a rider after he or she has bailed and clothes that start to ripple in the wind when you reach high speeds. Also, there's a wind-streak effect that really increases the sense of speed in the game. At the moment, the frame rate still jumps around a little, but hopefully it will be smoothed out before the game's final release on September 29.

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