Hands-On Preview: The ?1080' represents the number of weeks this game seems like it has been in development.
The slopes haven't been very active for GameCube owners following the release of SSX Tricky, the lone snowboarding games worth playing on the system, but from every indication, 1080°: Avalanche might just change the state of the 128-bit slalom as we know it. This is because the long awaited follow-up to N64's original 1080° Snowboarding has been tucked away for several months and, like any good snowboarder knows, tucking increases speed and progress down the mountain. This process doesn't seem to apply to the game's release date though, as it has been caught up in something of a snowdrift, but that seems to be the only slowdown it faces now. NST, the developer behind Avalanche as well as Wave Race: Blue Storm, has shown a great deal of improvement in every other aspect of its latest build, which is far from the preliminary performance first demonstrated to us at the Nintendo Cube Club event late last year. So, anyone that was quick to dismiss this game in its early state should be prepared to start boarding for more than they bargained for when 1080°: Avalanche arrives around the same time the snow starts falling.
Initial impressions of 1080°: Avalanche cited that the game was in need of much more work from its cold and less loving state last year. In a sense, you could say that it never left that cold characteristic behind due to the involvement of winter weather. Be that as it may, those rough edges are no longer lingering thanks to the vast amount of progress the game has made, the most notable and more alluring improvement being the tremendous sense of speed. It was peculiar to see the Cube Club demo use minor effects, say, for example, clothes rippling from the wind, while the speed wasn't quite there to support the existence of such an animation. Now, with things running at 60 frames per second, snowboarding from the top of the mountain to the bottom is all just downhill fun.
Speaking of going downhill, players will once against be involved in a battle to the base of a mountain as the Downhill Match mode makes its return along with several other N64 favorites including Time Attack and Trick Attack. While the slopes are filled with branching pathways and interactive obstacles, the most direct route can be found in Trick Attack's Half-Pipe course as well as a giant jump known as the Air Make. Both of these fan favorites provide maximum air and should maximize the game's trick system as they did in 1080° Snowboarding