One of the best aspects of being a game reviewer is getting to see all the little gems that might usually fly under the radar. From top to bottom we get to see into the minds of creativity with tiles that are instant hits and some that miss the mark, we also get to see the more… unique games that may only appeal to a small audience but they do it really well and Ski Sniper is one such!
Simplicity has its place and if a game is offering a limited experience, that experience needs to be engaging and satisfying to play. Ski Sniper put me in the shoes of a sniper who really hates Ski Jumping and I didn’t need plot lines or cut scenes to figure that one out. The game opened cold with a title screen then a selection of three, start the game, enter an arsenal (armoury) or to get help and hints. My first thought was to take it as it comes which usually serves me well, so I fired up the core game and was presented with an overview of a Ski Slope and a selection of targets. Each target represented a position I could use as a vantage point to admire the skill and grace of the spandex-clad jumpers as they glide down the slopes completely unaware of the grim fate that awaits them.
Time to hit the ski slopes.
As these colourful daredevils took to the air it was down to me to end their athletic careers by sniping them in mid-air and watching their bodies turn to ragdolls before bouncing spectacularly to a blood-soaked finish. Now I’m no Vasily Zaitsev at the best of times, but I have had some fun times strutting my stuff through the Sniper Elite series and even did my part to protect Emma Emmerich on the Big Shell so I fancied my chances but Sweet Christmas was I wrong!
Not only did the parade of Rowntree’s fruit pastel coloured jumpers fly through the air with the greatest of ease but they moved with seemingly such speed that I could barely bring my rifle to bear and get a shot off before they had slipped past unscathed. With an objective box telling me to hit five in a row, shoot three of them through the lungs and so on I thought there is no way I can do this, to quote a man who lost a hand “it’s impossible!” Now as it turned out with a bit of button fiddling my basic rifle did have a zoom function and I could pop some pills to give myself a brief moment of focus so with a bit of renewed faith I hit the slopes again and got ready, and missed every shot once again.
Third times the charm said I, so once more I hit the slope but this time I chose a different vantage point. The first couple whizzed past me again but suddenly, after pulling the trigger at the third the camera locked onto my bullet and followed it through the air as it pierced Mr sparkle and shine right through the guts and turning his bowels to jelly all charmingly displayed with X-Ray vision as his body turned flimsy and fell to the deck bouncing and clocking up points and money for me. Now I was hooked!
I have nothing against Ski Jumpers, I just wouldn’t do it myself.
Despite the early frustrations and admittedly the continued frustrations of how hard it was to hit these flashy bastards, there was a great sense of achievement and satisfaction when I find finally manage to line my shot up and sit back to watch the fruits of my labour unfold spectacularly. I chose not to focus too much on the specific objectives to begin with, of which there are several for each individual vantage point that ranges from hitting certain body parts or racking up certain streaks but fortunately these don’t all have to be done in one session so you can chip away and complete them overtime to earn their rewards.
I instead chose to just focus on getting used to the shooting and adjusted the sensitivity to suit. Earning cash for the few hit’s I did get soon saw me being able to afford a better sniper rifle and that was the rinse and repeat formula that is Ski Sniper. Shoot some jumpers, earn some cash, get a better weapon, shoot them some more while experimenting with the vantage points. You can also purchase some better pills that will increase your focus time, the early going is admittedly a struggle and the game doesn’t get much easier per see but practice makes perfect and I found that a couple of longer sessions allowed me to get into more of a rhythm and find better success.
Simplistic in nature yet oddly addictive.
Ski Sniper performs as well as can be expected in both hand-held and docked mode on Nintendo Switch, in classic FPS fashion aiming and shooting are assigned to the ZL and ZR buttons with aiming being performed with the Left analogue stick. A and B will handle zooming in and out with Y activating the focus mode. Simple controls for a simple game and they worked well. Visually Ski Sniper does what it needs to do, clean and crisp visuals that won’t win any awards but deliver what they need to for a murderous experience. The guns crack nicely when you let off a shot and the sound effects when the bullet hits are amusing and crunchy.
Ski Sniper is a deceptively challenging but satisfying experience. I am not sure what the developer has against Ski Jumper’s but it leads to an entertaining game that could become competitive with a few friends gathered around. With a host of challenges and unlockable’s, you get your money’s worth for under £5/$5 but the challenge will put some people off.
Review code provided
Platform: Nintendo, PC
Release Date: 28/02/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter, Arcade
Developer: Ultimate Games
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Download link: eShop