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Freak Out - Extreme Freeride (PC) artwork

Freak Out - Extreme Freeride (PC) review


"Whenever I'm exposed to skiing or skiing games, someone inevitably mentions powder hills, and immediately my mind drifts to donuts. Specifically the mini powdered-sugar ones. It seems strange, but after spending some time with Freakout, the comparison became surprisingly apt. You see, a donut is characterized by the fact that it's got a hole in it. So is this game."



Whenever I'm exposed to skiing or skiing games, someone inevitably mentions powder hills, and immediately my mind drifts to donuts. Specifically the mini powdered-sugar ones. It seems strange, but after spending some time with Freakout, the comparison became surprisingly apt. You see, a donut is characterized by the fact that it's got a hole in it.

So is this game.

There's a solid outer shell. It's well made, but suffers from an alarming lack of content. In short bursts, it's quite playable. Convoluted trails of snow-covered hills and valleys spread out before you, inviting you to plow your own road to the bottom. Trees, their branches weighed down by powder, fly past you as you race along your improvised course, narrowly dodging rocks that jut out aggressively from the ground. There are no shortages of things to jump from or over. One level is fun to play.

Once through this short layer of fun, however, we arrive at the hole in the middle.

The game promises a plethora of locations filled with multiple challenges that can be completed for points, but those are limited and generally uninventive. One such objective has you collecting a series of stars. If you miss any of them, you fail. On top of this, another common objective has you collecting a number of lost rescue dogs strewn about the course. This repetition in missions in a game with so few mission types casts a depressing, but accurate, light on your options in the game. There are other objectives, of course. You can attempt to grind on each of a series of rails, or do tricks off of lofty jumps, or try to hop massive gaps Dukes of Hazzard-style. But that's it. You complete these objectives simply to unlock another similar map with similar objectives. Some reward.

Unsurprisingly, the game boasts a number of skiers, but in spite of the fact that they have stats, there doesn't seem to be much difference between them. They all jump the same, grind the same, and handle the same. They are differentiated merely by their appearance, so it seems rather pointless to have wasted the design time on very little.

Upping the monotonous ante, your options as far as tricks are limited to three on any given run, and that merely changes the way your character grabs their skiis. After you've done the same grind for the dozenth time, it begins to lose its luster, and trying to find new ways to spin after rocketing off a jump begins to be a chore.

Freak Out: Extreme Freeride would make a great handheld game. It is fun, but only for twenty minutes at a time. If you carry a laptop with you and find yourself experiencing periodic boredom while waiting for the bus, then give it a try. For the rest of us who want something to play long into the night, it'd be better to look elsewhere.

Rating: 6/10

dragoon_of_infinity's avatar
Freelance review by Josh Higley (April 20, 2007)

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