Jan 30, 2014
It’s time to catch some Olympic spirit, and Sochi 2014: Ski Slopestyle helps us to do just that.
Starting out, one has the choice of selecting a country to represent; the countries are interesting, ranging from Austria to, uh, Togo and beyond. After other simplistic sundries are tweaked, it becomes clear that there are three levels of difficulty (easy, medium and harm) with only the lowest being available by default. Selecting that opens up the action. And by action, I mean the skier is going downhill at a quick clip.
The playing area replicates a slopestyle course, so as noted, it goes downhill, and in the easy iteration of the game, there are ramps, rails and other objects that are supposed to help or hinder jumps. As in the real sport, it’s all about the preciseness and variation of tricks performed. The game automatically guides the skier on the right path, and it is up to the player to work the action meter to execute and get the highest allotment of points.
An adjustable bar at the top of the screen. To the bottom left, a “trick” button that corresponds to the slope equipment coming up. To land a stunt or trick correctly, it is necessary to the action bar in the right area — a sweetspot, if you will — and the game engine ranks how precision of setup as a percentage; 100% is the best and garners more points. Tapping at the wrong time or ignoring the button can cause a minimal number of points or even a missed opportunity. Further down the runs, it gives choices if tricks to do, life a double back flip versus a 540 for instance.
At the end of the run, the game spits out number scores for difficulty, variation and execution; it also has a cool replay option and then notes any and all achievements unlocked.
I don’t always mind games that force one to jump in in the deep end, but the lack of tutorial is a minor drawback in my opinion, especially when the price is considered; it took me a run or two to figure out that tilting does nothing. A clearer unlocking projection would probably be helpful as well.
The game does have value as a simple time-waster, and the good news is that if I am able to figure it out, most people should.