Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020 Review: Soar Like An Eagle
Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020
Developed By: Blue Sunset Games
Published By: Forever Entertainment
Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020 is an old-school action game in which you play the role of a ski jumper. Train and compete in tournaments and the Campaign mode. Begin the rivalry in the qualification round and take part in competitions. You can play in campaign mode or tackle others in multiplayer. Have a face-off with AI-controlled jumpers on 5 difficulty levels! Create your competitor and acquire new helmets, gloves, suits, boots, and skis! Challenge their skills in winter, summer or special ski jumping hills!
Take To The Slopes
Usually, when you think of winter sports video games, they often come in the form of companion titles that encompass all of the sporting disciplines found under the Winter Olympics umbrella. This is not the case here. As the title would suggest, this game focuses solely on Ski Jumping.
Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020 has a handful of different game-modes, however, the most poignant one would be Campaign. Here, you play as Andrew Sturck and it’s your job to carry him from the humble beginnings of his backyard, all the way to gold medal-winning championship stardom.
Other game modes include:
Tournament – events taking place on selected ski jumping hills
Quick lay – you choose the hill, number of opponents, difficulty level, and start playing
Multiplayer Online – play with your friends and fight for a position in direct online games
Training – a place to polish up your skills
Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020 plays like a mobile game with simplistic controls, yet it throws simulation-like precision at you in the form of wind direction and the timing of your jump and landing.
Classic Controls: As soon as the lights go green, simply hit A to start your run and hit it again to launch yourself. Control your body by tilting the left analogue stick left or right to lean backwards or forward respectively. Just before you land, hit A one more time to land. Failure to do this will result in you landing on your backside!
Advanced Controls: For those looking for a control option that involves using gyro-controls or every button on the controller will be disappointed. Instead, advanced controls require you to use both ZL and ZR or A and B when you jump and land. Whilst not a huge difference from the classic control option, it does require a little extra co-ordination, if not intense mastery.
The game can be played in docked mode, handheld and tabletop mode with no noticeable difference in fidelity or framerate, which is always a good thing to report. There are multiplayer options for both local and online mode, however, I struggled to find a match or get anyone to join me so sadly was unable to test this feature.
I liked the art-style used here, sitting somewhere between 16-bit pixel art and hand-drawn. Your character and the spectators adorning each slope look pixelated whilst still fairly detailed. The backgrounds and the slopes themselves, however, are where it’s at. Whether you are practising in your dingy backyard or launching yourself to the moon, the environments are designed decently.
As much as the visuals steal the show, the audio design is somewhat of a letdown. It wasn’t even the fact that it was bad, there was just not enough of it. You have your standard Lo-Fi style menu music, which was also present in the story progression screens, the sound effects for each run and then the odd cheer or airhorn once you land.
Things were pulled back slightly when I found you can unlock new gear for your characters, such as helmets and skis. Though, without being able to try the online features it was difficult to know if they had any statistical benefit to my runs or were simply cosmetic.
The Run Down
I had a good time with Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020, even if it was short-lived. There are 12 campaign events to ski through, however, when each run could only take a matter of seconds, it was entirely possible to blast through the campaign in a single sitting. The fun seemed to come in the later stages when the difficulty increased. This brought out my competitive side and I found myself attempting the jumps over and over again to hit those high scores.
To this effect, I was disappointed that there was no online leaderboard. Games of this nature do need them, whether to add replayability or simply for the bragging rights.
Everything ran smoothly, whether in docked mode or handheld mode. The fact that I was unable to get any online matches going left a sour test in my mouth and I hope Blue Sunset Games can rectify this as I feel it could have added some longevity to proceedings.
I felt the game would also have benefitted from having a much more diverse sound stage and could have provided a much more premium feel to the game. For instance, in-game music would have been nice and would have eased the inevitable monotony that sets in after the first couple of hours.
I do hope that Blue Sunset Games decide to revisit this title for 2021 as it does provide many hours of addictive gameplay, though I would like a more fleshed out campaign mode with more length and depth as this mode is normally my favourite.
Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020 is certainly a niche title that may not appeal to everyone, especially for the current asking price of £8.99/$8.99. All I would say is wait for a sale to pick this one up and have a go at unleashing your inner “Eddie The Eagle!”
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Review copy provided by Forever Entertainment and reviewed by Micramanic.