- Title: Mark McMorris Infinite Air
- Publisher: Maximum Games
- Platform: PS4, XB1, PC
- Release Date: 10/25/16
Imagine all the best things about snowboarding: fresh layers of powder on the trails, nice peaceful sections of isolation, clean air, whatever other things actual athletes in the winter Olympic games seem to care about, and put that into an essentially open world game. Now, take all the things you dislike about snowboarding: ticket prices, long lines, expensive cups of hot cocoa, being cold, being outside, being cold and outside at the same time, weird people on the slopes with ridiculous outfits and stupid gimmicks (I’m looking at you, half-naked Brazilian Elvis impersonator), and throw that all in the trash. And that’s essentially what you have here: A game that manages to encapsulate the essence of what we love about snowboarding, without any of the real world unpleasantness, and for that matter, the unpleasantness thrown in from certain other snowboarding games, that have revolving maps and time-based shops and equipment (*cough* SSX *cough*).
Now, before I get to the talking about the experience of the game itself, let’s take a look at the technical side, getting the hang of the controls and such (because just like in real life, you need to learn how to move around before you can do anything at all worth doing. Except for breathing…and bodily functions…but anyway…). As someone that’s played maybe 3-4 other snowboarding games in their life, breaking free from what I assumed the controls would be and learning the new ones was as hard as landing face first into a sheet of black ice. We’re talking years of fighting what had become quite intuitive here. But, by the seven voids (if you believe in that sort of thing), it was worth it. The way movement is handled in this game is surprisingly natural considering it’s something that no other game of this type has really done before. And once you’ve mastered it, everything else really just falls into place. Kinda just like in real life (gasp!).
The game play itself is almost entirely what you make of it. The majority of my time spent thus far was in world builder mode, as I procedurally created my dream mountain complete with little-to-no trees in my path (but plenty on the sides, so it looked pretty) lots of semi-steep drops, and the occasional trick park here and there. And while designing feasible runs took some time, it’s a true testament to the developers how massive the generated mountains are, and how well the physics hold up. Circuit mode is also quite entertaining, with lots of possible outfit pieces to be unlocked through completing challenges throughout the level. Multiplayer as well, feels satisfyingly complete.
All in all, Infinite Air delivers all that one would expect from a snowboarding game on a modern day console, and infinitely more. Yes, the controls take a bit of getting used to, but the learning curve isn’t really all that steep, and it’s entirely worth it. With all of its features, there’s a lot of something for everyone inside this game, and it’s quite easy to find. Final Rating: 9.5/10