SNOW Preview

The small indie developer based in Sweden hopes to bring the sensation and thrill of skiing and snowboarding to the PC with SNOW. Poppermost Productions aims to become the leading name in a genre that frankly doesn’t really exist anymore outside of the arcade-y SSX, since Microsoft has cut ties with the Amped franchise and Nintendo has abandoned yet another great series in favor of more of the same game every year.

Currently in Early Access, SNOW fits right in with the rest of the games available that are essentially alpha builds. At the time of this writing, every sound from ambient noises to music have yet to be added, providing a very quiet trip down the mountain. Only one side of the mountain is available to the player, with the rest opening up hopefully soon, although multiplayer is the developers current focus. There are a handful of different spawn locations on the mountain, each one leading to different obstacles and courses on the mountain. One may take you through a heavily wooded area, allowing you to test your turning ability, while another features numerous ramps, pipes and many other objects to pull off tricks. I’m still figuring out the purpose of the spawn point that takes you over a cliff, as my limp ragdoll body has yet to survive the fall. There are currently no objectives in the game, as it is strictly a sandbox game, but it will keep score depending on the tricks you pull off.

Powered by the CryEngine, SNOW looks beautiful, especially when the action is paused giving you a complete 360 view of your character hanging in the afternoon sun light with one hand holding your skies and the other keeping yourself balanced. There is still plenty of work that needs to be done however, with skies that will frequently clip into the snow and a severe lack of visual effects, such as trails in the snow and snow particles getting lifted into the air. Switching to first-person mode is not something I would recommend as it leads to more problems, especially when you want to return to third-person and you find your head missing and the camera becomes unglued to the player. In first-person, your view will mimic your actions swinging your head to the ground in order to push forward on the skies. I became quite disoriented, so I would stick to the third-person viewpoint.

Character creation features dozens of various hats, jackets, pants, gloves and skies with most of the choices based on actual snow gear. Other pieces of gear are for those that are looking to have a few laughs, especially when you are able to head down the mountain with a top hat on.

Poppermost has a long road ahead, but they have a decent enough framework for a title that I can see myself wasting many hours trying to pull back flips all the way down a mountain. With plenty of variation on a single side of the mountain, I can���t imagine what is in store for the additional sides. Besides adding the obvious inclusion of online cooperative skiing, I would hope the next thing added to the game expands to our sense if hearing, allowing me to hear the wind rush past my ears as I shred down the mountain.