In recent years, extreme sports such as snowboarding, skateboarding, in-line skating and boarder cross have found welcome audiences with console gamers. Whether playing Sony's Cool Boarders series, Activision's Tony Hawk, or any of the plethora of other titles, today's gamers seem keen on throwing themselves down dangerous courses with nothing more than rudimentary padding and their movement apparatus of choice. Just as with their console counterparts, extreme sports titles are slowly becoming Game Boy Color mainstays, and with Vatical's Polaris SnoCross, you can add one more to the list.
Taking a cue from Codemaster's Micro Machines series, developer Vicarious Visions has opted to present Polaris SnoCross in a top-down view. With a push of the A button, your snowmobile takes off like a rocket down the snowy course and after gaining speed for a few seconds, one thing becomes abundantly clear - you're going too fast! Thankfully, the directional-pad steering controls are amply responsive, and the presence of power slides further tempers the thrill factor that the game's blazing speed provides. If you take first place and complete a circuit, you're rewarded with points that you can use to upgrade your sled's capabilities. But use these points wisely, as too much acceleration and a lack of traction could make for nightmares later on. Should you get bored of the game's ten courses, there's even a link-play mode for competing with friends. Kudos to Vicarious Visions for being one of the few developers ballsy enough to include link play in a good game.
Although Polaris SnoCross offers nothing new in the graphics department, what's present manages to satisfy. Courses are clearly drawn, obstacles are distinct, and the game's many twists and turns animate with nary a stutter. Though the sleds aren't overly detailed, they do serve as ample representations of racing vehicles, and they stand out nicely against the many snow-covered backdrops. Polaris SnoCross' graphics deliver a game that's both fun and amusing while retaining some semblance of realism. The same goes for sound - while what's present isn't overly diverse, the engine effects, crashes, and various speech snippets do an ample job of conveying the action.
At the outset, Polaris SnoCross is an above-average racer that delivers the "extreme" experience, while including an oft-neglected link-play feature. As such, Vicarious Visions has given the game that extra ten percent is required to deliver bona fide replay value. Not only that, but the company didn't skimp in single-player modes either.