There's no question that TransWorld Snowboarding is one of the most visually impressive portrayals of the sport on any console to date. It features good gameplay as well, with a trick system that's easy to get into and a variety of different goals to accomplish. In addition, it's got 10 professional riders, 16 environments, and multiplayer split-screen support. TransWorld Snowboarding also offers a number of options to choose from and extras to unlock, extending the game's replay value beyond the main single-player component.
The main single-player mode, the TransWorld tour, lets you unlock maps for use in the multiplayer modes, other single-player modes, and new snowboards, so you can't really enjoy the other modes quite as much without making a dent in the tour's 16 different environments. The structure of the TransWorld tour mode is similar to that of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and other action sports games. After selecting one of the environments, you'll be presented with a series of objectives, which can range from grinding on a specific object in the environment or executing a certain type of trick to winning a race or making the cover of a magazine by performing a spectacular trick in front of a cameraman out on the course. Naturally, the objectives increase in difficulty as you progress through the game, but they all stay within a similar rubric, so by the eighth or ninth course, the goals start to seem a little repetitive.
TransWorld Snowboarding tries to alleviate this lack of variety by approaching the objectives in certain levels with different events. In one environment, you may have the usual set of objectives, such as grinding over a specific distance or on a specific object, but you'll have to accomplish them in a half-pipe setting, while another environment might have similar objectives, but you'll be placed in the backcountry event, which encourages you to explore an enormous mountain course with multiple paths to the bottom. In some cases, you'll have objectives that are specific to an event, like the boarder rally (a race against other snowboarders on a mountain course) in which you'll have to reach a series of checkpoints in first place. This approach succeeds in diversifying the action in the game, but you'll likely still a get a sense of repetitiveness, regardless of the event.
In the split-screen multiplayer mode, you can compete against up to three other players in many of these same events. However, you can also choose to play a different type of multiplayer game in which the participants take turns performing tricks on portions of a course. The player with the most points at the end of the competition wins. The multiplayer modes can be incredibly fun, and they succeed in giving the regular single-player events some new life after you've unlocked everything.
Thankfully, completing objectives shouldn't prove to be too frustrating, thanks to the game's straightforward trick system. Basically, tricks are performed by simply pressing the right analog stick in different directions to trigger different tricks. A different set of tricks can be performed by first pressing the right analog stick in and then pressing in one of the four directions. Meanwhile, you can add spin or perform flips with these tricks by pressing the corresponding direction on the left analog stick. If all goes well and you land a complicated trick, your turbo meter will be charged.
You can create combinations of tricks using the shoulder buttons, which trigger the snowboarding equivalent of a revert. When executed correctly, this mechanic will call up a small timer on the screen that indicates how much time you have to pull off another trick and have it count in the combination. While the rest of the tricks are relatively easy to execute, the shoulder buttons just aren't very responsive, and it can be incredibly difficult to just switch your stance using those buttons, let alone execute reverts. It's also worth noting that TransWorld Snowboarding can be incredibly forgiving when it comes to landing aerial tricks, almost to the point that you won't ever crash into the ground unless you deliberately try to do so.
Visually, TransWorld Snowboarding is easily one of the most detailed snowboarding games on any console. The snow, which makes generous use of bump-mapped textures, looks excellent, and you can clearly see grooming lines as you speed through the landscape. The environments are populated with trees, various forest creatures (which you can collide with), and numerous buildings. Indeed, even the city courses have several reasonably detailed cars driving through the streets and sometimes on the course itself. But perhaps the game's most impressive visual achievement is a draw distance that allows you to see incredibly far off into the distance with no sign of draw-in. Even in the split-screen multiplayer mode, the draw distance is quite far, though it's noticeably shorter than in the single-player game. Unfortunately, the frame rate jumps around quite a bit, and it occasionally slows to a crawl--but the game still looks great, considering the amount of detail being pushed around on the screen.
The soundtrack is made up of licensed music from a variety of bands, including Noise Therapy, Quarashi, Blackalicious, and Hoobastank. If you don't particularly care for any of the bands selected, you can rip your own music tracks to the Xbox hard drive and use them in the game. The sound effects are solid, but there isn't anything spectacular here. You'll hear a wind-like sound when you start to reach high speeds, as well as a heartbeat when you use the turbo. There are also some location-specific sound effects, such as the growling of dogs when you board through a kennel.
The objectives in TransWorld Snowboarding can get a little tedious at times, but the different events help break up some of the monotony. In addition, the trick system is very easy to get into and shouldn't prove to be a problem for even snowboard game novices. In the end, TransWorld Snowboarding is an all-around solid game with some spectacular visuals and fun multiplayer modes.