What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this kid-friendly sports game is based on the Surf's Up movie but deals with just the surfing tournament aspect of the film. There are a few examples of reckless behavior -- like surfing during hurricane winds, through shark-filled waters, and while a volcano erupts nearby. The game has an online component; Common Sense doesn't recommend online play for anyone under the age of 12.
What's it about?
In SURF'S UP, based on the movie, assorted penguins (and a couple of other rogue animals) are the star athletes; players focus on mastering the mechanics of surfing and earning trophies and awards by fulfilling goals. Championship mode is the meat of the game. Players choose a character and then hit the waves in a series of courses set in familiar movie locations like Shiverpool, Pen Gu North and South, and the treacherous Boneyards. In each course, an ever-present wave is cresting off to one side of the screen; next to it are calmer waters littered with various obstacles that must either be slalomed around or used as makeshift ramps and rails for performing jumps and grinds.
Is it any good?
The wave is by far the most interesting element of Surf's Up. It moves across the course, obscures gates and power-ups, and steers players straight into an obstacle if they don't act quickly. In multiplayer mode, two players compete on the same course for the high score; a well-timed shove can push an opponent beyond reach of a crucial power-up or gate.
Surf's Up has a less-complicated control scheme than other games in the genre -- like Amped and the SSX series. It's typically one button per trick, and one trick per jump. The decision to focus on surfing -- and nothing else -- definitely works in the game's favor and makes it easier for younger kids to play. Although the controls lack subtlety, Surf's Up is still able to deliver rushes of excitement when everything gels and you're riding the wave for all it's worth.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the appeal of extreme sports games. Is it that they let you experience dangerous stunts without fear of getting hurt? What would happen in real life if you tried some of the moves in the game? Does playing this kind of game make you more or less interested in trying stunts in real life? Why did you want to play this game -- because you like surfing or because you saw the movie?