Surf's Up review

Silly us, we thought we'd be actually surfing

GamesRadar+ Verdict


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    Easy pick-up-and-play mechanics

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    8 player competition with friends

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    Penguins on surf boards. Hilarious.


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    Nothing resembles actual surfing

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    Mario Kart rip-off design

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    Neurons-not-required trick system

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Apparently when someone got the idea to make a surfing game, they actually meant “racing game,” because that’s what Surf’s Up is. There’s almost no wave catching or riding. At the start of the race or whenever you slow down too much you’ll do some paddling, but after that you just cruise down a track. Most of the time, the waves are in the background outside the course boundaries. Even when there are “waves” on the track, they appear to have no noticeable effect on gameplay.

The trick system is rudimentary and unrewarding. The touch screen has four icons that appear when you go off a jump, and you simply tap icons with the stylus to perform tricks. You create "combos" by tapping the icons in different orders. There is no sense of satisfaction when completing tricks because there is no difficulty or variety, and they occur so long after you tap the screen that you feel removed from them. You can’t even crash - you can keep attempting tricks until you hit the water again, so there is no risk involved.

Surf’s Up is a bad Mario Kart clone (replete with cloned weaponry) with a dash of the barest of bones from SSX thrown in. As such, there’s no excuse that it’s made for young kids, because any kid would be way better off just playing Mario Kart DS, which uses almost the exact same basic formula, but offers depth and polish.

More info

DescriptionBased on this summer's CG Sony surfing flick, Surf's Up promises innovative surfing mechanics and all sorts of characters and locations to play with - we'll see if they deliver.
Platform"PS2","DS","PSP","Wii","Xbox 360","PS3","GameCube","PC"
US censor rating"Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating"3+","3+","3+","3+","3+","3+","3+","3+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Matthew Keast
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.