Extreme sports fascinate me, they always have and they always will. The problem is they fascinate me in a voyeuristic way. I have never broken a bone, I’m 27 and go to an office every day sit behind a desk and then when the clock ticks to 5 o’clock I get in my safe little Micra and drive home. I have fear, and that’s the thing that holds me back from doing the cool stuff in life like skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and anything else that has even a whiff of anderanline to it. Thankfully my voyeuristic needs are taken care of by video games. With no danger to myself, or others, I can perform various acts from the safety of my home, sure it may not quite reach the same as doing it for real, but it’s as close as a big girls blouse like me can hope for.
Snow from Poppermost Games ticks the skiing, and in future snowboarding, box perfectly. Out now on Steam in Alpha form is Snow, a game where you are given a mountain, skis and gravity and told ‘do what you want’. Being an Alpha build it is currently quite bare and very much stripped back, but that’s what you get for playing Alpha builds of anything. There is no sound yet and only single player, but in the future this free to play title is going to be like an MMO for those that like to slide on frozen rain. oh and it’s built in the Cryengine…
As you might expect, or hope, with a Cryengine built game this is beautiful. The level of detail in just the snow alone makes this impressive. Something most gamers take for granted is the sky, a lot of people don’t realise that the sky can make a huge difference in how realistic and also immersive a game can be, Snow manages to build a great vista with the engine and top it off with a sky that feels at home in the world.
The game is a bit glitchy in its current form, crashing causes your player to require a restart, understandably, the probably is that it respawns you where you fell so if you fell off the top of a cliff onto jagged rocks you spawn on the rocks and get stuck in a loop of spawning and falling, obviously though this is something that will no doubt be fixed in a future build.
There isn’t much gameplay to speak of at the moment, the physics feel a bit slow on the slopes, even if you are in the crouched position, and that means pulling off anything on jumps seems nigh on impossible. Poppermost Games seem to be going for a realistic Ski Sim here as opposed to a Tony Hawks arcade game, and that’s commendable, the problem is a lot of real life skiiers are rich men and women in their 40’s who can afford to go to the south of France each year.
The thing about writing previews is that you need to not only assess what is there in front of you but also the potential for the title. It’s fair to say that at a base level in its current state Snow is playable but lacking in depth, that being said the proposed line up of features and, even simple elements yet to be implemented, give me great hope for this to be an awesome game.
As I said before there is a lot of menu art and streamlining yet to be done and it’s quite apparent that Snow, in its current form, has no audio at all. But I took the initiative with the latter and played music over the top whilst running, in the process I saw this game as a real chilled out affair. It could be played many ways, some will see it as a chance to pull off crazy tricks and stunts, for me though I put on the Mirror’s Edge soundtrack and just enjoyed the absolutely stunning atmosphere and design and slid my way down the slopes. Much like flight simulators or even Grand Theft Auto this game is what you make it, want to jump off cliffs and rag doll? that’s fine, want to enjoy a sunset and just meander your way to the bottom? that’s ok too. I just hope in future builds each tact is equally given credence.
In its current state the game is playable but more of a proof of concept than anything else. Given people’s investment and time however Snow could easily be a huge hit for Poppermost Games. Throw in some multiplayer and streamline the whole control scheme and this could be up there with the Skate series for me, a franchise that to me is the epitome of do it yourself fun. If you’re feeling brave then go throw some money at this seed in the ground and just hope enough people, like you, are willing to see the potential in this title and let it grow.