Jan 7, 2010

Backcountry Ski

I'm a sports fan and particularly enjoy their digital counterpart when done well. Unfortunately this genre is among those that are poorly represented on the Android outside of baseball. I saw Backcountry Ski from RESETgame a while ago and the developers seem to update it pretty regularly so I figured I'd give it a try.

This is a relatively simple skiing game. To control your skier you simply swipe the screen left, right, up, and down. Your goal is to get back to camp and camp is easily found by following the stream of smoke signals tailing up to the sky. Initially I thought they were just badly drawn clouds, but I was wrong...

So now it's time to rag on the game because at $5 in the Android market I'm expecting "cream of the crop" game development. EA charges in that price range and even if the games aren't great they certainly are professional and Polarbit's titles are often less than that and they're awesome. So when I see this, which looks like somebody's first 3D game (the one they write after their first 3D demo), I'm sorely disappointed. Reprice at $.99 and maybe it's worth it, but at $4.99 this is way overpriced in the current market.

My problems with it include the amateur looking graphics. The trees are very flat and the rendering engine just seems to give off this blue tint at the horizon such that I initially thought there was a fence over yonder. Beyond that there's not much in the way of graphics until you get to your camp as everything is the same.

And my skier... when I do a jump of any sort he jumps and then almost starts to take off into the air like a plane before abruptly returning to earth.

And then there are the Indiana Jones snow boulders chasing you down the hill that suddenly hit you from behind even though you can't see them coming knocking you over and costing valuable energy.

And all I'm doing is trying to head back to camp? No well designed, flagged courses to weave in and out of? That alone could have dramatically improved this title! In fact from what I can see, before boredom won me over, is that the courses have different names, but very much the same feel. So why did I leave camp again? Stay at camp and save your $5. Maybe Namco will port Alpine Racer or something someday.

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