The version of Snowboard Kids DS on display is early, but it certainly shows potential.
The demo features one course to race and four characters, with two systems available for multiplayer racing. Since the build on display requires four players, two boarders are controlled by the computer, mucking up my head-to-head competition with Jonny. The Mario Kart-esque items are acquired by running through a question block and are stored in one of two slots assigned to the trigger buttons. The weapons in the demo, such as an anvil and sleep, are creative in concept, but require no skill to use: they all work instantly on one (seemingly) random character. The Atlus representative mentioned that the item system in place for the demo is very early, though.
The controls are simple but solid. Tapping the screen makes the character push off of the snow when going slowly, but otherwise it is unused outside of the menu. The D-pad gets most of the action, since it both steers the boarder and adjusts the board’s angle when in mid-air.
The graphics are similarly basic, but presentable. The framerate is smooth and conveys a decent sense of speed (though not nearly as well as Mario Kart DS). The largely guitar-based music during the race is entertaining enough, but the voices in place for the teen boarders, who exclaim when passed or hurt, got on my nerves quickly.
Snowboard Kids DS probably will not win any awards as a single player game, but it looks to be another great multiplayer title in the growing DS library.