If you’re around the ripe old age of 30 or so you might remember a great little game called SkiFree, first released in 1991 in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack. In that game the player would control a little stick ski man going down the slopes trying not to get eaten by the Abominable Snow Monster! Fast forward 26 years and in comes Shred It!, a basic little game by Extra Mile Studios, available as a mobile game or on the Xbox or PS4. So how does the mobile game fare on a platform with a little more power?
Shred it! is an endless runner game with paper graphics where you take charge of one of seven characters and hit the slopes. As you make your way down you will jump over fallen sticks, collect leaves, avoid critters and other rocks and do sweet jumps. The further you go the harder the levels become until you’re finally wiped out. At the end of each run the leaves will be added up to form a high score and you will get paperclips which can be used to unlock further characters, new board designs and sweet new ski gear.
There are only three options available: Endless, Checkpoint Challenge and Chill session. Endless is exactly as you would imagine it to be; level after level with harder obstacles but ultimately the same thing: jump, duck and avoid. Checkpoint Challenge provides a bit more of a challenge but the gameplay is identical. In this mode you will collect leaves to add time to the counter and the aim is to get as far as possible before time runs out. Chill session feels extremely pointless as a mode, where you simply go down the hill and the scenery changes a bit but there’s no goal or aim.
Controls are simple and unoriginal: Joystick to move, X to jump and Square to duck, or maybe it’s Circle to duck. Either way it’s the simplest of gameplay that you’ve seen in every endless runner in the history of endless runners. There’s nothing new or exciting about this game, yet I found myself really enjoying trying to beat my high score and move up the leaderboard. Of the seven characters, none are overly earth shattering in terms of skill or even noticeable difference from each other. You have the choice of a boy or girl, a dog, a dude in a space suit, some penguins and a snowman and some of the characters have special abilities. For instance, the spaceman can double jump, the penguins don’t need to duck under things because they’re short and the dog scares away critters so you don’t need to worry about hitting them. The humans have no special abilities and the snowman stops the controls from inverting when you hit an icy patch. None of these special abilities makes the game any more enjoyable so there’s no real incentive to unlock them, but in any case it took me less than an hour to unlock them all through simple in-game challenges.
Visually, Shred It! has an aesthetically pleasing art style in its construction paper look but once again, nothing overly new or exciting. The mechanics are a little clunky and the controls don’t feel overly responsive. It almost feels as if each character is a semi-trailer with a full load, going downhill. It takes a fair bit of getting used to at first but getting a feel for them doesn’t matter anyway because the response time makes it impossible to get past a certain point once you’ve sped right up. New clothes and boards can be unlocked using paperclips but the prices seem exorbitant for how slowly you accrue them. There are daily challenges you can achieve that will give you bonus clips but after you’ve done those, it’s pretty much a grind for a cosmetic change.
Shred It! does provide an hour or so of fun and a half-decent challenge but fails to hold up for longer than that. There’s nothing new here for people to experience and the endless grind for pointless unlocks, clunky controls and the boring gameplay make Shred It! a don’t bother for me. Have a crack at the mobile game if it tickles your fancy but there’s no need to make a purchase for your console.
Reviewed on PS4