With the Winter Olympics now over, we wanted to find something to fill the void and help keep the thrill of “The Games” alive until 2012. So when we got an email from Vivid Games asking us to review their new game Ski Jumping 2010 we (pardon the pun) jumped at the chance. We had read some early previews of the game that were giving it really good marks with praises like “Ski Jumping 2010 manages to capture the excitement, skill and dynamism of the extreme sport, and the desire to master your technique will keep you playing.” So we were confused when we got our hands on the game and felt none of this extreme excitement.
Ski Jumping 2010 feels very technical and we found ourselves more focused on the fast moving bars for each of the segment of the jump, instead of really feeling like we were actually performing a feat of athleticism. Jumps are broken down into four components, push-off, take-off, balancing and landing, most of which will require the lightning fast reflexes of an actual Olympic Athlete to hit at just the right time. For each segment, the player can choose either an accelerometer-based tilt or touch control mechanism. We found the best combination to be touch for all but the “balancing”, otherwise we often ended up accidentally tapping way too early on the landing.
We were about to publish this review yesterday, when we saw an update was available to the game which added an “assist mode” to the control options. This actually slows down the speed of the segment bars to make it A LOT easier to pull off a successful jump, resulting in dramatically improved playability, but in the end, the gameplay still feels very technical and unnatural rather than a fun smooth and graceful experience. Sure, some may argue that mastering a sport like this IS very technical and that this is what the real thing is like, but the game just wasn’t terribly fun for us.
The goal of Ski Jumping 2010 is to become the best ski jumper in the world, competing in 26 tournaments spread across the globe. There is a leveling component here, where you earn money for long jumps which can then be used to upgrade your equipment. Ski Jumping 2010 offeres both single player and multiplayer (up to 4, via pass and play) options and a variety of game modes including Single Event, World Cup, Team Cup and Training. We can’t say that we really noticed much of difference between the 26 ski jumps (other than graphical skinning) or the 49 jumpers (whom each apparently have different skills).
Graphically, the game does look quite good with nicely varied backgrounds reflecting changes in weather conditions and time of day. It’s just unfortunate that you will spend most of your time focused on the movement bars to pull off the segments of the jump rather than being able to enjoy the view. We don’t think this game will be for everyone (especially not at it’s current $2.99 price), but we do recommend at least trying out the free version to see if you find it enjoyable. Perhaps you’ll feel that “judge AppAddict’s” score is one that should be dropped from the game’s total score.