If you lived in a pineapple under the sea, you'd probably enjoy skateboarding, right? That's the basic premise of SpongeBob's Surf & Skate Roadtrip, and that's all right with us.
Choosing from either SpongeBob or pink pal Patrick, you pick your pants and surf or skate the night away. As you'd expect from a game based on the crazy cartoon there are some bonkers cut scenes in the story mode, although there's also a quick play option available for instant action.
Things are awkward to begin with: you have to follow the step-by-step instructions before you can jump on your board of choice and start moving. Like other Kinect boarding games such as Sonic Free Riders, you stand side-on to the TV with one foot in front of the other, steering left and by shifting your balance. It's quite a task at first as you find yourself riverdancing just to move from left to right, but it becomes more natural with practice.
Naturally the game's target audience is slightly younger than the usual extreme sports games, but kids and teenagers should enjoy leaping about as they ride rapids or through a skate park, collecting coins and performing tricks along the way: you score extra points by making crazy poses when attempting jumps or balance on rails by sticking your arms out. The game takes photographs throughout, letting you look back at embarrassing moments after the fact.
Graphically the game hardly pushes the Xbox 360, though it's pleasingly fast and smooth in-game. One missed opportunity is the lack of animation in the story mode: cut scenes often rely on static images to tell the tale, a real oversight considering the popularity of the cartoon.
Sadly the menu system isn't quite as smooth: once you've completed a stage it sends you back to the main menu instead of automatically progressing you to the next level. Cue much frustrating menu navigation, particularly as the cursor movement is sluggish, not to mention it's not always clear where to select in order to move to the next set of menus.
Once you've mastered the controls SpongeBob Surf & Skate Roadtrip offers a decent amount of fun, and would make a good competitive game for families. Like so many Kinect games it's let down by a poorly conceived menu, and the lack of flow to its story mode hampers your enjoyment, but it's still worth a look for young ones and avid SpongeBob fans.