We've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Xbox console exclusive Shredders for some time now, especially since Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer highlighted it as a game he was particularly looking forward to last year, and it finally drops on Xbox Game Pass this Thursday, March 17th. It's inspired by the classic Amped games on the original Xbox, although you'll need to keep your expectations in check compared to those titles, as while Shredders is undoubtedly an enjoyable take on the genre, it's also a lower-budget indie game — but one with big ambitions.
The key thing here is that Shredders puts the majority of its focus on its intuitive gameplay mechanics and well-realised open world. Cruising down the slopes feels fluid and endlessly fun, and pulling off tricks requires a fair bit of trial and error at first, but once you master the controls, you'll be flying through the air like a pro. It feels like a mix of arcade and simulation-style gameplay, and the sheer smoothness of it all allows you to get into a nice rhythm as you transition from trick-to-trick, leading to some really satisfying sequences and highlight reel moments.
And as we mentioned, the open world is great. It's filled with ramps and plenty of big air potential, along with a good selection of rails to grind, and you can transition from one area to another by stopping at a chairlift and pressing 'A' to get to a new starting point (or just teleporting via the game's menu). It looks seriously good for an indie game, too, with the replay system producing some pretty stunning shots at times. We could nitpick about its lack of variety in some areas, and point out some of the instances of pop-in, but considering developer FoamPunch is made up of such a small team, they've done a fantastic job overall in creating the world of Shredders.
So, what can you actually do in Shredders? The main activity at your disposal to complete the 40+ core missions and a variety of side-missions, each of which are bite-sized in nature and range from completing certain tricks to following pro riders and trying to beat them in a race down the mountain. These are complemented by a range of motion-captured cutscenes, but admittedly we found it difficult to get excited about them, and ended up just wanting to hit the "skip" button after a while. The characters aren't very endearing, the voice acting is only OK, and the story is very loose and nothing to get excited about. It's all just a means to get you from one mission to the next, of course, and the actual missions are designed well and are fun to play.
The core missions will only last you a few hours at most (unless you want to go and replay them), so longevity will be an issue for some players here. Other activities include the aforementioned replay editor, which is excellent if you like a good photo mode, the ability to unlock cosmetics from real brands, and an always-online multiplayer world, with the ability to jump into private sessions as well if you want to. We haven't really had a proper chance to try out the online world for Shredders pre-release, but the idea is that you'll see other online players cruising down the mountain at the same time as you. It sounds great on paper, and should help the world feel more alive.
In our view, Shredders is an ideal Xbox Game Pass game. It's a game most players will get a few hours of enjoyment from, complete the missions and grab some achievements, and then move on. The dedicated fans will keep coming back for the fluid and rewarding gameplay, and maybe to get perfect scores on all those missions. If you go into it expecting a big-budget rival to the likes of SSX and Amped, you might be disappointed with what you find, but taken at face value, Shredders is a fun time and a worthy addition to the sports library on Game Pass.