SSX on Tour is a snowboarding and skiing video game, the fourth title in the SSX series of video games for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and PlayStation Portable. It was released in North America on October 11, 2005 and in the PAL region on October 21, 2005. The PlayStation Portable version was released in the Europe on October 28, 2005. In 2007, a prequel titled SSX Blur was released, which took place between SSX 3 and SSX On Tour. The GameCube version contains Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach as playable characters. This was part of a deal Nintendo had with EA Sports to have Nintendo's intellectual properties appear in EA franchises.
The gameplay in SSX on Tour is similar to that in SSX 3, with similar controls and the overall aims of events remaining the same - snowboard down a mountain while gaining points for various tricks that can be performed. After each trick, a player's "boost bar" builds up, and once full enables a player to perform special moves - known as "Monster Tricks" now, previously known as "Über tricks". Despite the similarities, numerous changes were made to the structure of races and events themselves. Players can now create their own characters, selecting his/her symbol, makeup, height, clothes and hair, in addition to whether they are a snowboarder or a skier (skiing being a new feature in the game). Once created, their 'boarder can compete in official competitions (known as "Events"), or unofficial challenges known as "Shreds". Each completed event or challenge gains their character "Hype", raising their profile and moving them up the SSX charts, with the ultimate goal of reaching number one.
With the focus now on custom-created characters, the original SSX cast is moved into the background slightly, appearing in various Shreds against the player, and available to play as when not on the Tour itself. In addition to seven returning SSX veterans (Elise, Mac, Kaori, Zoe, Psymon, Nate, and Allegra), three new characters make an appearance: Tyson, Sid, and Skye. In the Nintendo Gamecube version three Super Mario Bros. characters were featured. (Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach) There is also a slope called "Nintendo Village" which was a hill that went past buildings and other properties. Some icons from the Super Mario Bros. series appeared. (Super mushrooms, super stars, etc.) Unlike its predecessor, SSX3, no online play was included on any of the versions of SSX On Tour. The main focus was on improving the single-player storyline mode, implementing the character-creation system, the selection of new tracks, and the addition of skiing as well as snowboarding.
The PSP version also differs greatly from the main console versions, with limited customization to custom-characters and levels borrowed from SSX 3. It also has omitted the use of bonuses on the special "Monster Tricks".
This game is presented in the style of a sketch-book, a new direction for the SSX series. The cover artwork as well as the in-game menus are all shown in sketch formats, simplistic images often on a lined background. The special in game collectibles, displayed as snowflakes in previous SSX games, have been replaced with sketchlike doodles known as "skulvis", continuing the theme.
One of the most notable features of every game in the SSX series has been the soundtracks used, usually featuring prominently in the games. Like SSX Tricky and SSX 3, SSX on Tour features a licensed soundtrack, including rap, punk, rock and alternative music styles. The prominence of punk and rock is a departure from the more techno-heavy soundtracks of previous games in the series.
The soundtrack is integrated with the game rather than used as a background to it. Tracks used on the menu screens play only as instrumental versions of the ones used during races. In addition, when performing "Monster Tricks" during an event, the music will fade away, to be replaced with the sound of the wind whistling by as the player cuts through the air. Upon hitting the ground again, the music cuts back in, enhancing the sensations of the game. The main song used in the intro is Iron Maiden's Run to the Hills.
The game received "favorable" reviews on all platforms according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. In Japan, Famitsu gave the GameCube and PS2 versions a score of one nine and three eights, bringing it to a total of 33 out of 40; for the PSP version, the same magazine gave it a score of three eights and one seven, while Famitsu Cube + Advance also gave the GameCube version three eights and one seven, both for a total of 31 out of 40.
Awards and nominations
- Alternative Sports Game at IGN
- Best Use of Sound in a Game at DEM X AWARDS 2005
- D.I.C.E's Best Sports Game of the Year Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) 2006
- Best Mobile Game of the Year CAEAA 2006
- Best Individual Sports Game at Spike Video Game Awards 2005
- Best Sports/Extreme Sports title at 1UP.com
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/articles/ssx-on-tour-character-spotlight-mario-luigi-and-peach/1100-6132098/
- ↑ http://www.ign.com/articles/2005/08/27/mario-joins-ssx-on-tour
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/articles/ea-tracks-ssx-on-tour/1100-6133015/