Games review – Snow
Ever thought of bracing the chill of the Alps to do some snowboarding or skiing?
Maybe the cost has put you off, or possibly the thought of breaking a leg.
In which case, Poppermost Productions’ Snow is a winter sports video game that takes the expense, cold weather and potential for injury out of the equation.
Initially released towards the end of 2016 on PlayStation 4, Snow gives players the opportunity to digitally snowboard and ski across various locations, game modes and events with their own customisable character.
One of Snow’s games modes, and arguably its most, enjoyable is its Free Roam, where players get to explore different mountains under no gaming conditions (e.g. time limit) in place.
Players have the option to choose between seven peaks, which differ in size and level of difficulty, to snowboard or ski on.
These mountains, mostly named after competitions, include: Sialia, Suzuki Nine Knights, B&E, S Games, Jon Olsson Invitational and Fochi 2014.
Out of the seven, Jon Olsson Invitational (JOI) is without a doubt the one for beginners.
With its map size classed as small and its difficulty ranked as easy, JOI will break you in gently.
Players only have the short distance between the top and bottom of a very small hill to travel, with just a couple of ramps put in place afterwards to allow the practice of tricks.
However, The unchallenging nature of JOI it quite tedious and probably surplus to requirements once players have grown accustomed to the game.
In contrast, Sialia, the largest mountain on Snow, can keep players entertained for days with its numerous pipes, ramps, rails and expansive landscape, which can sometimes feel never-ending but in a satisfying way.
As for the rest of Snow’s mountains, they strike a balance between both Sialia and JOI, ultimately offering players a range of experiences across Free Roam.
With no overall aim or compulsory challenges to complete, Free Roam can become boring, especially in an offline setting.
If so, then there is the option of trying out the Events mode instead.
There are seven event types to choose from: Time Trail, Descent, Slopestyle, Big Air, Freeride, Freestyle and Rail Jam.
These events involves tasks ranging from reaching the bottom of the course as fast as possible, to performing a specific number of tricks, thus giving players the chance to test and further improve on their in-game snowboarding or skiing skills.
Out of the seven, the two event types that really catch your eye are Descent and Freestyle.
In Descent, players have to complete the course without crashing, while Freestyle sees virtual snowboarders and skiers attempting to record as high a score as possible through the use of tricks.
Both events are challenging yet still fun, but can have an element of frustration attached to them if you fall into the habit of constantly crashing before completing the course and having to restart.
The Multiplayer mode for Snow resembles its Free Roam counterpart, with the only major difference being players get to snowboard and ski with other online players.
Currently, it appears that Sialia is the only mountain available to play on, with a maximum of 12 players allowed to join the server.
Taking into account the size of Sialia, it can become difficult to come across fellow players in the server (unless you opt to spawn at their location), leaving you with the feeling that you are not actually playing with anyone from time to time.
However, once alongside budding snowboarders and skiers of the virtual world, Snow becomes much more fun as you speed downhill with other players while performing tricks simultaneously.
Perhaps Snow could do with additional content to its Multiplayer though, like actual races or trick contests between players, rather than just having an online version of free roam.
Despite being officially released and available to purchase on the PS4, Snow is still in its Beta stage and, as a result, has its flaws.
For instance, although quite minor, the manner in which a player’s character is tossed around after a crash can look very glitchy — an issue likely to be bothersome for those who seek perfection in a game.
Also, on Multiplayer, which can feel very laggy at times, players pass through each other as if they were ghosts when riding into one’s path, rather than colliding and eventually crashing.
This may have been done to prevent players from purposely riding into other players in order to cause them to crash and disrupt their experience but, ultimately, it has removed a sense of realism from the game.
Nevertheless, Snow remains an entertaining sports game.
It’s not as complete as other similar winter sports video games such as EA Sports’ SSX series, and doesn’t have the best of graphics in this current generation of gaming.
But if snowboarding, skiing or sports games in general for that matter are your type of thing, then give Snow a go.
Elephant Sport rating: 7/10
Featured image: ©SNOW