The last time I was on videogame snow and ice I was playing Winter Olympics on my Acorn Computer, and now I have given my age away. It was a simple game with two buttons and a Joystick to control. Things have changed a lot since then.
Ski-Doo is a relatively unknown sport where competitors race motorized sleds through winding circuits. Ski-Doo Snow Mobile Challenge by ColdWood Interactive is an attempt at bringing this sport out of the cold weather and into the warmth of your living room.
The game structure follows the usual racing game formats. There are 25 Circuits that can be unlocked and played through Career Mode. While in Career Mode you earn money by winning trophy’s that allow you to personalize your character and upgrade your sled. The game also features your standard Multiplayer options of split-screen and network.
The game play is fun but basic; races do not usually require anything more than the acceleration button and a steady steering hand. Dramatic stunts can be performed during a race that if successful give you an adrenaline boost which gives you a slight speed increase. If you misjudge the stunt and crash you will likely be overtaken by other competitors. Knowing which jumps allow you enough time to finish a stunt and which don’t could be difference between winning and losing. At moments the game feels contradictory. To complete stunts you must hit large jumps however the game teaches you that high jumps should be avoided as they slow you down. It seems strange that you should be given penalties by the game for doing the most fun and risky options.
The Visuals are a bit ropey. Snow effects could be vastly improved. The snow kicked up by the Ski-Doo’s look more like dust than fluffy snow. The circuits are also very similar looking as they lack any unique landmarks. The Ski-Doo’s themselves are actually well modeled with nice vibrant colours and decorations.
The game has several frustrating elements that greatly harmed my enjoyment. First and foremost the loading speeds are incredibly slow. During this long load time the game does not even have music to keep you engaged. A smaller problem would be how the game reacts to you straying off course. The second you leave the track you are immediately told “No Cheating” or “Out Of Bounds”. This can happen by simply taking a corner too sharp or to wide. When that happens you are taken from the track and placed further back. It feels a little unjust to have such a harsh penalty for a simple error or even to have the penalty.
Despite these setbacks the game is enjoyable. The simple pleasure of winning races, gaining a higher rank, unlocking new circuits and upgrades cannot be ignored. The music is very catchy and never annoying. Where the game could have had frustrating super emo or techno music, we have instead a series of well placed tracks that compliment the game.
Ski-Doo Snow Mobile challenge does nothing to add to racing formula, however it remains very enjoyable.
7 Ski-doo’ing Yeti’s out of 10