Shred! 2 – ft Sam Pilgrim is a mountain bike, Trials-inspired game developed by ASBO Interactive that pays homage to a legend in the field, Sam Pilgrim. The game originally came out on December 24th, 2018 on Nintendo Switch, Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS, macOS, and Macintosh operating systems. For the Xbox One, it came out on April 29th, 2020. Like other sports franchises, it’s common to put the name of a legend into the game (Colin McRae’s Dirt Rally, the Tony Hawk skateboard franchise, the Tiger Woods Golf franchise, etc.) in hopes of making it sell well.
I was offered to review this game and I took it because the whole look of the game felt nice. I read the reviews that existed for other releases and thought this would be a nice experience.
That didn’t go as planned.
Shred! 2 is available for purchase on the Microsoft Store for $11.99. This game was reviewed on Xbox One. The review key was provided to us by Game If You Are Ltd.
Story – A mountain biking extravaganza
There’s no story in Shred! 2 and that’s okay. Not every game needs a story to be fun (Doom 2016 and Doom Eternal) and if it’s forced onto you, it can be a turn-off.
Instead, the game presents us with a young adult who’s a mountain bike enthusiast. He also isn’t afraid to break all his bones numerous times just for our pleasure. Something which we will see happening all the time if we are not super careful. The selling point of the game is supposed to be its gameplay, which works and doesn’t at the same time.
Gameplay – Easy to learn, hard to implement
The game controls are pretty simple and you can’t help but appreciate that. You use RT to pedal the bike, which builds up speed from when you’re stationary on long flat platforms. You use LT to break, which is almost never used. The RB button is used to perform 360-degree/180-degree rotations in the air that help you net points. You use the left thumb-stick to orient your guy on the ground and in the air. You use the right thumb-stick to perform tricks in the air and there are 6 different tricks possible.
The A button is used to ‘pump’, which basically speeds you up as your guy gets low on the bike. The pump mechanic really speeds up the game and this is where the game truly feels exciting. I’d say it’s the most fun element of the game.
The goal of every level is to get from start-to-end without dying and completing certain objectives along the way (5 in each level). The objectives are of 2 kinds: 1. Perform certain tricks and 2. Finish the level in a certain time. Both these objectives can be super annoying when you get stuck, but feel amazing when you get them right.
The campaign is broken down into 4 chapters, one of which is the tutorial that finishes pretty soon. The other 3 contain 10, 11, and 10 levels each.
The levels are unlocked by completing the previous level while also finishing the objectives. If you fail to complete enough objectives, you can’t progress to the next one. The levels themselves are fairly short, too.
Overall, Shred! 2 is a short game (4 hours?) and gets shorter when you understand how to beat each level with the minimum number of objectives needed (which is 3 per level).
The fun parts
Don’t get me wrong, Shred! 2 is fun when you get it right. The camera angles make you feel like a badass who is not afraid to take risks. The crashes can also be funny because who doesn’t like watching ragdoll physics?
The flow of the game can also pump you up good and you feel excited about the next level. Jumping from hills and landing perfectly at an angle to maintain the highest possible speed is amazing when done right.
Using all the trick buttons together when you’re in the air results in you spinning around wildly doing God knows what, but it gives an amazing score. You just have to land to get that score, otherwise, you’re out of luck.
The game has elements that can make it a fun, casual game that you can play to relax. Even though I have issues with the game, I won’t deny that it has improved my mood whenever I’ve picked it up. The problem is, it doesn’t last much.
The bad parts
Firstly, let’s discuss the flow of the levels. The game plays much like a Trials game, but minus the checkpoints. If you die at ANY point in the level, you will have to start from the beginning with your level score set to zero. You will also cancel out any objectives that you completed in that specific run.
I feel as if the game mechanics contradict each other. Where the game encourages you to perform tricks and ride like a maniac, it punishes you just as badly by taking away all your rewards for ONE slip. And trust me, you WILL slip a lot. This single element is probably what I felt the most while playing.
I want to play this game while lounging in my beanbag and not worrying about making mistakes. You can finish the level playing extra carefully by avoiding tricks and just getting to the finish line. But if you do that, you realize no objectives were completed and you have to start over.
You either learn the level almost perfectly or just pray that the stunt doesn’t go wrong. This problem could’ve easily been fixed with checkpoints and the lack of it just adds an unnecessary level of difficulty that takes the fun away.
I have to go where?
Some objectives require you to do something in a specific space on the level. The only problem is, the space mentioned can be really vague. Take a look at these screenshots. I have no idea what the Pinkbike Tabletop is, it just happened somehow.
Only after playing for a little more time did I realize that there are cues on when to perform the tricks, something which the game doesn’t tell you blatantly. You have to figure this out by playing the levels a bunch of times being frustrated.
The numbered markers indicate that this is the place to perform the said numbered challenge in the list. I feel that this is, again, unnecessary. It’s a primary objective of the game, I shouldn’t have to discover this feature after playing for 4 hours. You’re a casual game, Shred! 2, act like it!
Did I mention the game is incredibly short? If you figure out where to perform objectives, the game will not take you long to finish it. I’d say you’d be done in about 4 hours.
No point in playing again
There are no community maps and there is no option to create your own. You’re stuck with the 4 chapters (one is a tutorial) and there isn’t much replayability. If you can go through the same level multiple times to get all the stars, go ahead. I can’t play this again once I’m done with it.
There are unlockable bikes and color designs but they really don’t change anything from above. Therefore, they are not an incentive to play again for more stars. With so much missing from it, it almost feels like a mobile game ported to a console. Oh wait, it was actually released as a mobile game roughly 2 years ago.
Graphics and Audio – Quarantine serenity
Shred! 2 – ft Sam Pilgrim gets these well. The graphics aren’t amazing by any means, but they let you enjoy the setting. Riding through the forests and mountains feels really nice. Considering we’re stuck indoors these days, seeing nature in any form really helps out.
The music was definitely spot-on. The mix of upbeat and mellow music really gets you in the mood of riding fast and breaking your neck. If the game design wasn’t killing me on my every move, I’d put my headphones on and ride down steep, fast hills all day. My favorite track has to be Aperio – Reflections.