Stylish visuals; happy-go-lucky jams; easily grasped gameplay
Randomized stages tend to cause game over screens rather quickly; very few tricks at penguin's disposal
Rising Board 3D has all the hallmarks of stereotypical casual games, what with its surfing penguins, sparse text and direction, and single-minded goals. It’s even cheap, at $2.99 on Nintendo eShop. But unlike many games of its ilk, Rising Board 3D‘s got stylish graphics and some pretty addictive gameplay– which continue to help prove that casual games on Nintendo eShop can still be pretty fun. So it’s unfortunate that while it does look good, Rising Board 3D‘s maritime vacation is not quite as perfect as it could be.
Rising Board 3D features a side-scrolling ocean, with a cute, square-shaped penguin (or is that a penguin-shaped square? probably the former) riding three-dimensional waves up and down. As in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or, say, Wave Race 64, the penguin has literal tricks up its figurative sleeves, though they’re extremely limited– you’ve got rolls, flips, and spins, inputted by holding down either A or B and moving the Circle Pad in various directions. The goal, to the surprise of nobody, is to get as many points as possible, multiplied by collecting Sun Points or completing specific tricks when the game demands them. Meanwhile, mountains, rocks, and other obstacles constantly stand in the poor penguin’s way, so quick jumping maneuvers– and Tanuki Suit-style “flapping” to slow down descents– are imperative.
Keep up that practice, and soon that 189x multiplier will be in reach. Maybe.
While this sounds exciting– and it is– there are some glaring issues, specifically with the obstacles. Unlike similar games, there is no stage select, nor is there any easy way to figure out what kind of terrain you’ll be surfing into with every new game. Instead, Rising Board 3D features randomly generated areas, whose oddly placed peaks and valleys make the learning curve significantly higher at the beginning of the game. Worse, while there’s a tutorial, there’s no practice mode for those who want to perfect their tricks just right before showing them off in score attack. You’ll have to practice within score attack, which is difficult because you’ll wipe out constantly and that game over screen just doesn’t relieve stress. Well, unless you’ve somehow managed to get a high score– and that won’t happen until you earn enough Sun Points to unlock or upgrade your boards, because the initial board can only take a single failed trick or mountain in the face before ending your game.
That said, Rising Board 3D remains absurdly fun. Despite my relentless annoyance at my wipeout-prone penguin and the wipeout-happy mountains, I found myself playing for a good two hours on my first play. (Quite the length for an ostensibly casual game.) I unlocked three new boards with my Sun Points, and fully upgraded two– the slower, default one, and a faster wakeboard that let me catch bigger air and complete more revolutions in every trick. At the same time, I managed to get better at predicting when I should move other lanes to avoid board-breaking obstacles, or when it was safe to pull off a few tricks. By the time I finished my first play, my penguin was a whole lot more skilled than it was at the beginning, when the average survival time was about four seconds, due to not being able to land a 360 flip. Combined with the stylized waves and bright atmosphere, as well as the poppy, smile-inducing music (even the game over screen has a nice jingle), Rising Board 3D runs high on charm.
Look at that adorable, slightly bewildered penguin. How could you not love that?
While Rising Board 3D‘s gameplay certainly has potential, that little penguin that could is often the little penguin that can’t, constantly crashing into mountains that you’ll swear had no business being in the middle of the ocean, or failing just a simple spin because you didn’t have enough practice moving your Circle Pad just so. With a bit of elbow grease, Rising Board 3D‘s controls and random stages could easily catch up to its fashionable graphics in terms of just how much they lead players to its shores. But for now, players will just have to get used to wiping out a whole lot more than they expected, gritting their teeth while slowly improving their skills. Only after that much practice will they finally be able to get those high scores. If this is what odenis studio intended, then Rising Board 3D is a rousing success.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.