Shredders (2022)

Extreme sports games have become a much smaller genre in gaming over the last decade. When they do come out, most try to recreate or recapture the very familiar style of games of massive success, like the Tony Hawk series. One of the biggest sports besides Skateboarding was snowboarding, and with series like Coolboarders or SSX being dormant for over a decade, when a new snowboarding game comes along, I pay attention to it. Shredders came out of no where on Gamepass and when I loaded it up, I was very surprised by what the game displayed.

Shredders is a semi open snowboarding game that takes place on a fictional mountain that follows the antics of two friends who have a YouTube channel called “Shreddageddon”. They are making videos on the slopes when one of the mountain’s event planners see them, and how they can become cheap help to promote a new event on the mountain. She takes them around and gives them tasks to preform and post on social media to hype up the mountain’s big event.

What sets Shredders apart from other snowboarding games is the technical aspects… It’s not a polished game at all. It’s physic engine breaks spectacularly when you bail, causing your rider to have limbs twist and bend in no way any human could survive. Sometime jumps are missed completely and other times the same button press can send your rider flying through the sky. Levels load in awkwardly, the voice acting is stilted and feels like it was taken right out of a scene where a pro athlete has to act.

While it sounds pretty bad it really isn’t. The game might feel more in line with a early access game that needs about 3 months more polish, what is there is quite fun and enjoyable. Snowboard always seemed like the most relaxing of the “extreme” sports. In fresh powered, sliding downhill along with beautiful frost covered trees, getting sick air that allows grabs and rotations that make you feel like flying, and waiting at the bottom, a quaint chalet filled with friends and a hot chocolate ready for you to sip next to a roaring fire. It just all sounds peaceful. And that’s mostly what Shredders does, it’s setting is peaceful. The music selection really does reflect that perfect sense of “peace and tranquility” as you soar through the air making jump after jump, while still flying down a mountain. There isn’t tons of fireworks, or deadly cliffs or tons of races or obstacles trying in various ways to break your neck. The few things that are there are there to allow you to escape the world and be as creative with your tricks as possible.

During the few hours it takes to get through the story of Shredders, you are dropped into a “open world” of the mountain, where you can pick and choose which direction you want to head down in. Floating spinning logos indicate there is an optional objective to complete, or you can just head towards the actual mission storyline objective. It’s really up to you whether the game is a true sandbox, or if you want to follow the game’s story mode. I found myself every once in a while just exploring the mountain instead of barreling through the main story.

While there isn’t that much can be said of a game that is just so short, and frankly a bit janky in the technical field, Shredders has something a lot of games normally don’t have. Heart. You can feel the love the developers have for this game, getting sponsors for real life snowboarding gear, and I think real life pros to do voices. It might not come through as a shining example of a “well made” game, I think it excels in it feeling like a game people tried their hardest at. If it was a game I paid $30 for, I’d probably be much more harsh on it. But for a free game on Gamepass, it was a perfect palette cleanser from the 90+ Hour Elden Ring game I played right before. If the game ever does get updated, or even a sequel, I’d be really interested in playing it, because it was one of those games that felt relaxing in a way most games aspire to be, but never quite make it to.