Sorry Rabbit, but Trickstyle is for… oh never mind, take it.
Growing up in the 80s, I have memories of all those wacky Back to the Future movies. Marty McFly, Doc Emmett Brown and that decked out Delorean… sure, the second one didn't always make a lot of sense, but it had hover boards. After that movie, I'm sure even the most hardcore skaters would've given up a first-born child for a crack at a neon pink Mattel hover board.
So, my question is: where are OUR hover boards? It's almost the year 2000, and we have yet to even see a prototype. Aren't we America, rulers of science and capitalism, mighty forces working hand in hand to make cooler stuff than those other countries? What is up with that? Man, we need another Cold War to get our lazy scientists off their duffs.
Where normal science fails, computer programmers try to pick up the slack. No hoverboards?--lets make a game about it. At least that's what the marketing department said. The end result is Trickstyle, a confused, but pretty one-trick-pony that isn't all that fun to ride.
There's some plot in here, but its pointless to the actual game. People from all around the world come together to race on hover boards through the futuristic cityscapes of London, Manhattan, and Tokyo. These areas are all linked to one another by the Velodrome--a hub-like stadium where you can practice your tricks.
The controls are smooth overall, but a little loose. You have your basic acceleration, and then your jumps and tricks. Trick execution can be combo-ed for some more advanced stunts. However, tricks are only necessary for the Trick challenges in the game, where you try to accumulate a set amount of points in a short time.
Winning the races is really just a matter of not screwing up. Try to keep level and spin attack into your enemies. When going downhill, switch to luge mode and try to gain some speed. Thers just not much more to it, skill-wise. All in all, the feeling of a good race just isn't there.
In better racing games, when you win a race, you actually feel like you did something to win that race. You've learned how to maneuver better, and up until the hard-fought end when you pull ahead of that one last contender, you feel like you're making an effort to win. Not so in Trickstyle. Every victory I made felt random, not earned -- that this time I was just a little luckier than the time before.
There are some clever track designs, with shortcuts and different levels of track, but it never really flowed. Each city has 5 tracks, but each of the five tracks look too much like one another, differing only in time of day. Some of them even have you going backwards through a previously completed track.
There's a practice/teaching area where you meet an incredibly annoying trainer that sends you out to do chore-like learning exercises. This guy also pops up elsewhere in the game to hand out unwarranted insults and advice.
On the other hand, the game looks pretty good. In some areas the graphics can be simply beautiful -- city landmarks scattered on the horizon coupled with nice lighting effects. But the framerate has a lot of hiccups. Framedrops, especially in 2 player mode is the norm.
Want to choose a racer? You can select from among such popular candidates as a Spice Girl, a Power Ranger, and even a M. Bison look alike. The familiar racially stereotyped selection is once again in play. As a supporter of affirmative action, I like seeing different races represented in video game characters, but please don't make that counter effective by using lousy, stereotyped voice samples.
In addition to the oh-so-annoying voices, there is also the matter of the music… how should I put this? Personally, I think I have a broad appreciation of music (10 gigabytes of MP3s, baby). Concerning the music in Trickstyle, I can unflinchingly say that I'd rather be smacked upside the head by a hammer -- at least that would feel better than listening to the overmixed wails that they call music.
In the end, Trickstyle didn't have nearly enough to make me happy. There are some good separate parts, but its all been tossed together in the hopes that it would equate to a fun game -- it didn't. Hey American scientists! I'm sorry for what I said. Make me a real hover board so I don't have to play Trickstyle.