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SSX tips: Tricks, Geotags and winning tactics

Into snow business? We'll make you a star

There's an SSX demo available on Xbox Live today, providing you're signed up to the full Gold service like a normal, healthy human being. If you've any love at all for snow, we recommend giving it a look. The two-track taster fills 1.24 GB, so factor in cup-of-tea-time while it downloads. Better still, fill the minutes by glancing over the essential gameplay pointers below.

Check out our last online SSX preview for more.

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1. Fast-track to Tricky
In case you slept through the absolute basics, you'll want to spend as much time as possible in Tricky mode. Tricky means more points, unlimited boost, and a gloriously bright golden glow. The last bit doesn't make a huge difference at first, but comes in handy during the game's darker zones.

Variation is key for activating Tricky mode - alternate face buttons to perform different tricks, and use the right trigger to tweak in the air. Draining your boost bar will make it harder to activate, so it's vital to save boost for jumps that are big enough to make it worth your while. Keep your eyes peeled for helicopters flying over the track, too - grab the bottom of a chopper mid-jump and you'll instantly trigger Tricky mode.

2. Reach for the skies
There's plenty of scope here for massive air, but you'll need to head off-piste for the biggest jumps - and the largest SSX credit rewards. You can grind any edged surfaces by holding the left trigger, making fallen trees the perfect opportunity to gain access to otherwise unreachable areas. Get to the highest zones in each level, and you'll be able to grab purple and orange snowflakes, filling your account with a huge splurge of dosh. You can't spend any of this money in the demo, but get the practice in now and you'll be raking it in straight away in March.

3. Grab Mac's headgear
Use the demo's main menu to send an invitation to a friend, and you'll be able to play through the levels as Mac. He wears a rather handy head-lamp. The moonlit trick event is easier with a bit of extra lighting, but that's just the beginning. When you're touring the tunnels of Kilimanjaro, gear like this is essential.

4. Make the most of Tricky
Once you've activated Tricky, you'll need to use it appropriately. In Trick events, the answer's simple: hold both triggers while performing a trick to activate a character-specific move, earning yourself plenty of points. In race events, things aren't that cut-and-dried - performing tricks often will help you maintain your Tricky state for longer, but that's not much use if you're falling behind. Your best bet here is to stay on the ground, making good use of the infinite boost. Avoid bumpy surfaces, find a good line, and keep that right trigger held all the way down.

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5. Start a rivalry
The marketing-heavy "invite a friend!" stuff might seem insidious, but honestly, you'll really want to do this. How else will you work out which of your friends are painfully unbeatable? How else will you decide who to hide from your leaderboards in the full game?

6. Scope out good Geotag spots
It's not a feature that's included in the demo, but one of SSX's coolest aspects is the ability to drop your own Geotags - collectable snowflakes that appear online for other players to grab (if they can). The longer your Geotags go unclaimed the more points you'll eventually earn, so it's well worth scoping out the best areas in advance. The best technique is to look for unusual jumps, going out of your way to place the tags strangely. Ridernet will inform all your friends whenever you've hidden a new Geotag, so start thinking about weird places to hide them now, for maximum grief when they're hunting them next month.

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