Day 66: sin(Surfing)

Posted: 2011/01/14 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #66, and today’s game is “sin(Surfing)”.

sin(Surfing) is a delightful game that tickles the charm-meter right off the scale. The game is simple, you surf on a sin wave on an oscilloscope. But the beauty’s in the details. The gameplay is a refreshing revisitation to the days before extreme sports games had puzzle or adventure modes, and before they came with plastic motion-sensitive boards that didn’t work all that way. The gameplay is somewhat reminiscent of Tony Hawk Pro Skater (the first one), and even more strongly of ’80s extreme sports games such as “California Games”‘ surfing mode, or even “Skate or Die”.

Where this game really excels is when you want something mellow to play for a few minutes (before bed, for example). Get in the zone, pull off a few tricks, then go on to something else. The game is perfect for that, and the 80 Microsoft Point cost of entry is not bad even if that’s all you ever get out of it. The controls consist of movement plus two buttons, but I remember playing Skate or Die on my Commodore 64 with a one button controller and it never seemed an impediment to enjoying the game.

I enjoyed the game’s method of scoring, where each trick is rewarded with a different mathematical equation. The Intellivision-era graphics to me were a positive, a reminder that minimalist gameplay used to rivet me, but the animation is much faster and smoother than anything I recall from the early ’80s. All in all, a very different and enjoyable game that smartly doesn’t try to do too much: it’s a lesson the Tony Hawk developers failed to learn (the more features they added to their game, the lower the average review scores have gone, to the point that they now dwell deep in the bottom of http://GameRankings.com).

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