Snow is an emotional rollercoaster. You can go from excited, to frustrated, to bored, to ecstatic within a short five-minute period. At its best it's a fantastic experience that'll have you speeding down treacherous terrain, swerving between rocks and trees as you avoid disastrous crashes. At its worst, it's painfully mediocre, with too many rough edges to ignore. Sadly, the rare moments of excitement this game provides are overshadowed by its flaws.
Snow is a winter sports game that lets you lose on a range of mountains, where you can choose to either compete in one of the game's many events or explore the scenery at your own leisure. You've three modes of transportation at your disposal - skis, a snowboard or a snowmobile - alongside a drone that allows you to get a look at the scenery above the treeline you're otherwise stuck beneath.
It's a shame that the game's not exactly a looker. You get the feeling that you're meant to go "corr, look at that!" when you find a sightseeing point, but as the camera trails off into the sunset you're confronted with trees and rocks popping in, rather than the beautiful view we think the developers intended. The same sadly applies when you zoom in, with the blow-up fans (literally) and the dead eyes of your character staring into the distance when you crash. While these aspects don't ruin the game by any means, they kind of pull you out of the snowboarding experience.
Which, might we add, is often an enjoyable experience. Underneath all the lacking visuals is a solid game. While it's recommended that you play on a controller, the game handles well even using a keyboard, and it's this solid gameplay that keeps you attempting the game's more challenging events over and over. That's not to say the gameplay is without flaws. Grinding on rails feels more like you're floating on top of them and is fairly unsatisfying, and touching a rock or fence with any amount of speed will immediately make your character go limp and collapse as if landing on a surface even remotely uneven killed them on the spot. Thankfully, Snow has a rewind system which allows you to rewind time after crashing which lessens - but doesn't erase - the annoyance a sudden collision can evoke.
As for content, Snow has a decent amount to play through. The mountains are fairly big, each with their own selection of events. These events range from races to score-based challenges. By completing these events you earn customisation options from your character like hats and new snowboards, which allow you to make your plastic emotionless character more to your liking. There are even Swag bags! Loot boxes that allow you to unlock some really radical gear like a duck hat. Neeto! Finally, there are collectables which you can find through exploration in the free roam mode. We're sure players who are infatuated with the game will have no issue with scouring the mountain looking for vistas and points of interest, but skiing around aimlessly wasn't to our liking.
Some of this content can be a legitimate challenge too. We found ourselves throwing dozens of attempts at the more difficult Descent events in the hopes of getting our hands on a gold medal. And it's in these struggles to clear the game's events in good time / with a good score that will keep people playing Snow over and over. But for players who don't find enjoyment in making their route as efficient as possible replayability is scarce after you acquire all the gold medals.
Then there's multiplayer, which allows you and other players to experience the thrills of descending down the mountain together. Now it goes without saying that playing with friends makes everything better, but I'm unsure how much multiplayer really adds to the game if we're being honest. Yeah, it's funny to see someone smash into the side of a house at 100 MPH, and it's cool to see a perfectly executed double backflip from the sidelines, but it doesn't make the reality of playing Snow any more enjoyable.
Snow is by no means an awful game, sure it's rough around the edges and has plenty of problems, but it was almost the dictionary definition of a 'mixed bag'. It feels like a love letter to fans of winter sports, but the poem inside is written in crayon, and your name is spelled horrendously wrong. While there are moments where you can glimpse past the multiple problems to see a tremendously fun game on this ironically snow-covered sandbox, that sight is soon obscured by reality. Snow is a game with too many problems to recommend to anyone but those with a passion for winter sports. And even then, get the free version first.
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