Red Bull Crashed Ice Review

Our official look at the "Kinect Arcade" title, by energy drink manufacturer, Red Bull.

By: Rich Shivener

Filed Under: Review Sports


“Feeling sore or tired? Take a break.”

After completing the Red Bull Crashed Ice world championship in a little more than an hour, I took my Xbox 360′s advice. My biceps haven’t forgiven me yet.

Red Bull Crashed Ice is a new “Arcade Kinect” title for Xbox 360, inspired by the extreme sport known as ice cross downhill, which began a little more than a decade ago in Sweden, and, in recent years, got wings from the energy drink company. In the sport, skaters rush down ice-covered tracks, jumping, turning and, well, crashing, at speeds above 35 MPH. Think of a hockey rink that looks like it was built atop rolling hills. While ice cross downhill is a weird sport that airs on American television outside of the prime time, its World Tour, held every winter, draws thousands of spectators. It even has superstars, such as Canada’s Kyle Croxall, the 2012 World Champion, and Finland’s Arttu Pihlainen, three-time world champion. Races happen in such cities as Quebec City, Munich and Saint Paul.

I knew nothing about this sport or its champions until I played Red Bull Crashed Ice. It’s a great example of “arcade,” in that it’s easy to grasp and not very expansive. The game has five locations, or tracks, each of which has a qualification round that precedes the real competition: two heats of elimination, and a final race of the best four skaters. Races are less than two minutes, provided that the player maintains lightning-like speed and reflexes.

Those are critical. Each track contains jumps, obstacles, rails, and each skater can takedown (elbow) their opponents, nabbing power ups along the way. Kinect tells the player what to do when, and it also photographs his/her goofy looking self during jumps and at the end of each race. (Trust me – I look horrrrribbbblllleee in my photos. I should delete those, lest my console be hacked.) Overall, the Kinect functionality helped me understand the sport’s physical demands.

But the game trades its accuracy of the real sport for entertainment purposes. On TV, you won’t see Croxall doing backflips and cannonballs high in the sky, nor will you see him intentionally elbow someone in the face; in fact, hitting is illegal. The real sport isn’t a game of violence and showboating. It’s more like a racing sport that happens to get a little, shall we say, jagged at times. I worry that the game’s depiction of it is misleading to those unfamiliar with the sport.

I will admit something: After playing the game, I pulled up YouTube and watched a few races. They were fun, but not as fun as the high-octane approach of the game. This was clear to me when the latter’s skaters often defied gravity, with their crowd-pleasing jumps and twisted rail grinds. So I wonder: Is the game designed to promote the real sport to unfamiliars, or to give existing fans of ice cross downhill the fun they’ve been yearning to see? What exactly is the game’s purpose?

I’m not sure, but I know I’m good at Red Bull Crashed Ice. By the tour’s end, I nabbed two gold medals, two silvers and a bronze. My biceps are still sore.



Red Bull Crashed Ice is a notable title in its genre.

This review based on a download code provided by the publisher.

Filed Under: Review Sports

About the Author:
Rich Shivener is the Lead Editor of Bit Creature. He is also a writer, instructor and iPad whisperer from the shores of Northern Kentucky. You can find him in Publishers Weekly and Writer's Digest, among other places.

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