Mark McMorris Infinite Air (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 02.11.2016

Review for Mark McMorris Infinite Air on PC

There's always been something uniquely appealing about snowboarding games. Titles such as 1080 Snowboarding, Amped, and the ever-popular SSX helped to define the genre. Oddly enough, there haven't been many recent attempts to establish a new king of the slopes. It's too bad, because racing down mountainsides and pulling off insane stunts can make for great entertainment. Nevertheless, HB studios has seen fit to enter this practically vacant market. Is their game Mark McMorris Infinite Air "gnarly" enough to be worth looking into?

Naturally, the first step to mastering the treacherous mountains and unforgiving ramps is knowing one's snowboard. The approach to the controls is likely to draw comparisons with EA's Skate franchise. Steering is handled with the left stick, while a standard ollie can be performed with the right stick. The triggers can be used to apply torque, and the direction of the stick determines whether the ollie will lead into a roll, spin, or flip. While in mid-air, the player can then use the triggers and left stick to grab their board, this results in various tricks. The key to pulling off a very impressive stunt is coupling spins, rolls, and flips with grabs. However, just because it's possible to do something complicated and ridiculous like an "Off-Axis 2520 Chicken Salad," doesn't make it all that beneficial.

Screenshot for Mark McMorris Infinite Air on PC

Granted, some of the stunts go far beyond what can be considered authentic, but mastering the game is more about consistency than anything else. With this in mind, landing is the most important part of any stunt. Naturally, bailing is failing, and that has to be avoided at all costs. It's alright to be a little sloppy and even "buttcheck" landings are still worth points. However, making an okay or clean landing will build a multiplier bonus. Therefore, the player will want to perform several easy stunts, so that when they attempt something difficult, the result will be worth more points. Crashing is a fine way to lose that multiplier, so again, consistency.

Even with all of this in mind, the first few hours are a very difficult learning experience. There are going to be a lot of bails, messy landings, and even some frustration. It will take a while to get used to the snowboarding main-stays such as ramps, hills, and half-pipes. Getting better at the game is all about practice, while mastering the subtler motions. The tutorial is poorly designed, and it might give some players the wrong idea of what they need to do to be successful. It's better to focus on mastering the simple stunts and develop skills at a reasonable pace. This makes for a much more enjoyable snowboarding experience. Reading a few guides can help, too. The developers have been especially kind about explaining how the more advanced techniques work.

Screenshot for Mark McMorris Infinite Air on PC

After getting accustomed to both the board and the slopes, it's time to take on the circuits. It's here where players can take on over a hundred challenges, earning everything from new clothes to playable snowboarders. The challenges are distributed among dozens of runs. A challenge can be something simple, such as accomplishing a specific stunt, or more involved, like collecting a set amount of points. Due to the overabundance of challenges, it isn't too difficult to progress through the circuits. This is especially appreciated during the difficult half-pipe runs. By the way, this game heavily emphasises stylish play, so it's rare to see anything resembling races or time trials. That said, they are available for anyone that's interested in them.

Even after mastering the circuits, there is still an endless array of snowboarding possibilities, due to the powerful editor. It's possible to not only generate a custom mountain range, but also add objects such as ramps and rails for building that perfect run. There are a lot of tools to work with, and it isn't too difficult to figure out how everything works. All creations are easily accessible through the main menu, allowing players from all over the world to explore, contribute, or compete. These aspects of the game are very well realised, and it is fun just checking out the creations that everyone is coming up with. The load times when switching between maps are fairly lengthy, though.

Screenshot for Mark McMorris Infinite Air on PC

The one aspect where this game is truly lacking is atmosphere. HB Studios did an admirable job with the control scheme and options, but the bland environments and non-existent weather or time-of-day effects leave much to be desired. Considering the degree of customisation available to the slopes, some sacrifices had to be made, but some sort of visual flair couldn't hurt. Aside from a handful of circumstances, there aren't any NPCs, either. Granted, this game wouldn't benefit from two-legged obstacles, but a few spectators out to the sides couldn't hurt. It's possible to freeride with a friend, so there won't be any worries of getting too lonely out in the mountains. The soundtrack has a few decent songs, but most will gamers probably just go with their own music, anyway.

For someone whose last snowboarding game might have been Amped 3, the character creator in this title is rather disappointing. As mentioned earlier, most of the clothing unlocks are awarded through the circuits, which is all well and good. Unfortunately, there isn't any way to customise a boarder's actual appearance. For example, if someone decides to create a female boarder, their sole hair colour and style is exactly the same as Silje Norendal's, one of the professionals that makes an appearance. Speaking of professional, the clothing options are just that. If someone wants to hit the slopes wearing a football uniform, a hotdog costume, or pants on their head, then they'll have to find another boarding game. Even something a little more realistic like a t-shirt is off the table. Long coats, pants, and face covers are constants. It's practical, but a little dull.

Screenshot for Mark McMorris Infinite Air on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Mark McMorris Infinite Air's spartan presentation and mediocre visuals aren't impressive on their own, but they serve their purpose. This is a snowboarding experience that puts functionality over style. The control scheme has its quirks, but there is a lot of depth to it, so consistently performing the most difficult stunts is very rewarding. The breadth of world-building options is truly remarkable. Gamers have all of the tools necessary to design a typical slope-style run, craft a challenging track to test reflexes and board control, or put together something completely unbelievable. This freedom to experiment can never be underappreciated, because it really helps to set this game apart from the pack. All in all, this is a fine addition to the genre.




Maximum Games





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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