(3DS eShop)

Rising Board 3D (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Rising Board 3D Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

All that glitters is not gold

The endless runner craze isn't about to end any time soon, and that's understandable. The genre offers an experience that is both suited to quick play sessions and unique every time you boot it up. The DSiWare service even received a rough equivalent in I Must Run!, and now the eShop has Rising Board 3D, an endless surfer.

The basic framework is the same: forced movement to the right, randomised obstacles, and bonus items to snag along the way. The only noticeable difference in the way the game is played is that the swell of the waves affects your movement somewhat, and you earn bonus points for style. All in all, it sounds great.

What's more, it looks great. Rising Board 3D has some absolutely stunning water effects. As we find ourselves saying so often when it comes to great 3DS visuals, screenshots simply don't do it justice. It has to be seen to be believed, and even then you're likely to remain in a state of permanent awe. The fact that the game maintains a sturdy framerate throughout is just icing on the cake. Rising Board 3D is gorgeous.

Sadly, it has some issues. For starters, the most obvious feature of the game — its randomised environment — is also its biggest liability. Levels can generate in such a way that avoiding obstacles is literally unavoidable, and in a game that features one-hit kills, that's a serious problem.

Surviving Rising Board 3D isn't a matter of skill; it's a matter of luck. That does not make for rewarding gameplay, and it can be quite frustrating when an otherwise great run is ended immediately by a landmass that spawned too large to be jumped over.

The developer seems to have been aware of this, because it gave our little penguin surfer the ability to flap his wings in order to slow descent. However it's still possible for land to spawn in such vast sprawls that no amount of flapping will carry you over. It gets very irritating very quickly, and that irritation is only compounded by the fact that you can steer north or south, but can never see what's there in advance. You might be hovering toward the safety of the open water, or you might be flying directly into a mountain. There's no way to tell, and that's both unfair and unnecessary; the touch screen is totally unused and could easily have displayed a map in abstract to help guide you to safety.

As you surf, you collect sun points. These can later be used to unlock additional boards from the shop, and while they do sometimes put a different spin on the game — such as making you faster or lighter — it doesn't offer much in the way of replay value. Additionally, the sun points are so plentiful and easy to grind for that it doesn't take any real skill to unlock things; it feels more like a chore.

In fact, instead of unlocking the boards it's best to upgrade what you already have, as doing so will allow you to survive up to three hits. That softens the blow of the randomised landscapes, certainly, but it just means your runs fail due to three impossible obstacles, as opposed to only one.

You're also able to perform tricks as you surf to earn style points. Flips are handled by the Circle Pad and the B button, while you rotate with Circle Pad and A. It's a nice way to increase your score, but the game only ever remembers the best score, and doesn't offer local leaderboards, or an ability to enter initials. This can make it difficult to keep scores straight when playing with friends, and it's also quite annoying that — much like SpeedX 3D — the game doesn't display the high score until after you've completed a level. For a score-attack game, it sure doesn't seem to care how well you do.

Touching certain power-ups allows you to take the form of another of your animal friends, such as a fish or a shark, but grabbing these is difficult, as they often appear near hazards and the game moves too quickly to give you much time to grab them. Doing so provides an interesting — and all too brief — diversion from the main game, which quickly becomes tedious but — to the credit of the presentation — never really loses its visual charm.


Make no mistake, Rising Board 3D can be fun, but unfortunately that fun is as randomised as its stages. Runs end far too easily, unavoidable obstacles or hazards clipping you from off-screen, and the lack of even local leaderboards means there's little incentive to better your score. Unlockable boards vary the gameplay a bit, but it's so easy to grind for sun points that earning them doesn't feel like much of an achievement. There are some great visuals and sound here, but Rising Board 3D features tropics best experienced by postcard.

From the web

Game Trailer

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User Comments (30)



Geonjaha said:

I despise the graphics of these games. The Pop lsand game is the only game I've had to delete from my 3DS - It was that bad.



Philip_J_Reed said:

You don't get to choose a stage...it's randomly generated from several pools of graphical elements.



photofool83 said:

I am getting quite tired of randomly generated anything. It doesn't seem innovative at all, it seems lazy. Take the time and make some good courses. LEVEL DESIGN IS IMPORTANT!

Couldn't they have just made a Pop Island 2? I loved the original ones for the DS.



Philip_J_Reed said:

No, it's a single stage, endless, and randomly generated. It can, however, draw from different pools of graphical elements, giving it a few different visual flourishes each time.



Undead_terror said:

Too bad, so if you touch the ground you die?
Was thinking about the tag line alot lately (all the glitters are not golden since it was on something funny) and now it pops up here!



Philip_J_Reed said:

In the sense that it's a single, randomly generated level, yes. Otherwise it's quite a different experience.

Yep, the ground kills you.



Aqueous said:

Wow, I expected Corbie to get this one.
Great Review Chicken, too bad about the auto kills getting you




Pop Island itself is actually a good series as you guys reviewed the dsiware games favourably (both games got 8/10) Two minds about DLing this



sonic_brawler95 said:

I downloaded it because I love the Pop Island games, so far it's pretty good, it looks and sounds gorgeous. Although it's way to easy to die...



Ras said:

The best of these, to me, is Jetpack Joyride. I just checked my stats and I'm approaching 48 hours of playtime. And we're talking a totally casual game. Not sure I'd need it on my 3DS, though.



Deathspawn said:

I actually liked Pop Island because they put in the ability to send the game to a friend, which was cool. The $2.99 price on this makes some of the downfalls reasonable, but it doesn't make them okay. I do think some games need to be a bit harder. Even the Mario games have become easier to play/beat.

Might pick this one up, but the static background image doesn't look that appealing in the video. Hopefully they update it with some more customization.



grumblegrumble said:

Sounds like it was kinda rushed into development. Which is sad because Odenis Studio doesn't have a whole lot more on its plate other than a whole lot of time to develop a game, does it? However, the price is right and I've also heard some good reviews from members on here in the forums so I may get it. Ok. Scratch that. I just did



Azikira said:

Sadly I thought Odenis would have a misstep along the way... And that's too bad because they've made some fun games. Hopefully someone will eventually get the "surfing" genre right.



iBazly said:

Honestly, I must say this is yet another review of Philip's I disagree with. I think the gameplay of this game is pretty awesome. I haven't experienced any of these unavoidable obstacles, and I've been playing it quite a bit.

The biggest issue I have with this game is the hideous menus. The menus don't make a lot of sense and are very unattractive, and then when you hit "Play" there seems to be a slight lag that makes me wonder if I pressed it or not.

But once the actual game is going, I love it!



bhornburg said:

@Bazly I have to agree with you, Bazly. This game is really the first DSi/3DS "infinite runner" type game that I'm really addicted to. The graphics are outstanding, the controls are great, and all you have to do is flap you wings to lands safely most of the time. You have an achievement to try to get each run, you have bonuses for doing requested tricks, you get a higher score based on the length of your run, you earn in game currency to buy and upgr

I really recommend this to anyone that has $3 to spare. I'm really surprised NL gave that Bird Mania 3d game such a high score and this one a middling one. I was blown away at how boring and bare Bird Mania was, a sub-standard game in this genre to say the least. Rising Board 3d outshines it in almost every respect.



Dark-Luigi said:

I was about to download this. But what you said about the game. Thats not going to happen.



mayhem13 said:

This was a disappointment for me. To be honest, if the previous Pop Island games didn't exist, maybe I would have liked this more. This made me just want to play a Pop Island on the 3DS. Its brutally difficult in some areas. WarioWare like in its rapid in and out style, win or lose, move on. I sometimes like WarioWare but for the most part that spastic gameplay style is not for me. There is alot of these simple running, use your reflexes, avoid things type games. Someone should vary it up a bit more like a 3D graphics run and avoid things type game. But there is so many. The only thing that helps this game out, is it's cheap. Maybe not in comparison to apple and android games. But in comparison to other Nintendo,Sony,Microsoft games. It's cheap. So one should factor that in. I guess I shouldn't expect much for the price.



Ickaser said:

I want very much to like this- I love Pop Island. This sort of game isn't really up my alley, though, so I don't think I'll download it.



WiiLovePeace said:

Oh man I wish this had've been Pop Island 3 Imagine the pop island capture the flag crazy awesomeness with randomly generated levels! It would be both insanely awesome & have infinite replayability!



Smug43 said:

if you are GOOD you won't die to some mistimed jump as you can repeatedly hit the A button to fly for a looong time... there is obvious adverse risk holding down A to speed up.. this review is off as I would give it an 8 easily.. it's a TON of fun.. very micro but that's what the game is trying to do!! buy it and support these dev's are awesome!!

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