80Back in the days when I used to leave my dorm room, snowboarding was one of my favorite hobbies.‚  Yes, believe it or not, this incredibly gifted writer/reviewer/King of Awesome used to partake in physical activities.‚  Nowadays, I enjoy the simpler things in life such as sitting with my iPhone, playing video games and sitting while playing video games on my iPhone.

Thanks to Alpine Racer, however, I can now enjoy one of my prior favorite pastimes with one of my current favorite pastimes.

Feb. 27, 2009

Alpine Racer is a Namco snowboarding/skiing racing game for the iPhone and iPod touch. ‚ It is simple, fun and perfect for the platform.

In the game, players choose characters to race down certain courses in one of two possible playing modes: Time Attack which players try and beat their best times on certain courses, or Story Mode, where players compete against computer controlled opponents.

Players steer their character down hills using either a touch system or a tilt system.‚  The touch system allows users to use their finger to steer while the tilt system uses the built-in iPhone technology to determine how far you physically turn the iPhone, adjusting the direction of your character accordingly

In its Story Mode, Alpine Racer casts the players in the role of either Shogo Saga (a snowboarder) or his sister, Rina Saga (a skier).‚  Both siblings are competing for the all-important “King of the Mountain” competition.

The first race that players compete in is the Time Trial.‚  In this race, you are just seeing how fast you can complete the Nostalgic-EX course, theoretically determining where you will be seeded in the semifinals.

After the time trials are completed, you are put in a head-to-head semifinal competition against your sibling, either Shogo or Rina, depending on who you chose to be.‚  In the semifinal, you both race down a course called High-Jump-Mountain, simultaneously.‚  The first Saga to finish advances.‚  Luckily, players have an unlimited number of chances to beat your opponent, conveniently guaranteeing you a spot in the definitive race.

The last race in Story Mode is called, well, the Finals.‚  In this race, you compete against a mysterious last-minute entry into the tournament whose identity is later revealed at the Spiral-Night course.‚  Similar to the semifinal, you will have an unlimited amount of attempts to beat this mysterious skier.‚  If you do end up beating the mysterious skier, you will obtain glory and unlockable characters.

The Story Mode in Alpine Racer was fun, but that is really all that can be said about it.‚  The plot isn’t interesting, the character development is insignificant and there are only three races.‚  If this was a major platform game, I would be quite disappointed.‚  However, because I tend to go easier on the evaluation on iPhone apps, I found that the Story Mode was just about the perfect length and complexity for this platform.

There were plenty of positive aspects in Alpine Racer.‚  First, I would like to compliment Namco on their inclusion of both skiers and snowboarders.‚  Although I have been a lifelong snowboarder, I really appreciate a game that doesn’t focus on just one of the two major snow sports.

I also thought that the upgradeable character feature was great.‚  After each semifinal and final race, you are able to improve the Power, Acceleration, Style, Max Speed ratings of the character you are using in Story Mode.‚  The best part about this feature is that the upgraded ratings will carry over into future Story Mode attempts.

In regards to negatives, there is nothing “wrong” with this game.‚  I really did enjoy it.‚  I just wish the there were a few more levels to play and more characters to use.‚  Also, the $5.99 price tag might not seem like a lot to the average gamer, but may seem expensive next to some other apps on the platform.

Overall, Alpine Racer is probably one of the better racing games for the iPhone.‚  It has kept me entertained more than most apps, earning itself it’s solid rating.

About The Author

Chase Gharrity is a Blast Games correspondent.

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