Have you ever thought of multiple random games or sports and wondered what it would be like to combine them? Imagine, if you will, Zombie Army/Sniper Elite combined with Clay Pigeon Shooting and Ski Jumping Pro VR… The Frankenstein creation you’ll end up with is Ski Sniper on both Steam and the Nintendo Switch. Although this strange creation sounds too wacky and obscure to be true, I found the final product to be a very addictive and satisfying pastime over the last week.
Developed by Crazy Rocks and published on the Switch by Ultimate Games, I honestly didn’t know what to think when I received the game for review last week. However, much to my surprise, I’ve returned to the game every single day for a few hours at a time, hooked on trying to unlock new items as I try and complete more of the goals presented to me. Please read on as this is the strangest game I’ve played so far in 2020…
A few hours ago I wrote my review for Ski Jumping Pro VR, a game in which you don your virtual ski goggles and launch yourself off the ramp as fast as you can, hoping you’ll land perfectly and make it to the next round. Ski Sniper is almost like a companion game to that one as you’re literally a sniper who is trying to shoot ski jumpers as they fly through the air – seriously. The developers have made it clear over on Steam that they wish to cause no offence to skiers, it’s just a humous game based on skill and progression.
There’s not much diversity within Ski Sniper as there’s only one ski jump; However, there are multiple sniping spots located all around the jump which both increase the difficulty and price-per-kill in relation to how far away you are. So, although you’ll see everything the game has to offer within a few minutes of playing the game, it’s very easy to become addicted to the process of shooting the unknown athletes and you’ll find yourself constantly pushing to see just how far back you can shoot someone.
One thing you have to be careful of though is not to kill the skier as they are still on the ramp – that’s too easy! If they haven’t jumped off, how are you expected to get great distance as you watch them come tumbling to the ground and paint the snow red with their blood? The real fun begins when multiple ‘lemmings’ come flying off the ramp in quick succession, forcing you to go all ‘Duck Hunt’ on them and take them out quickly, one-by-one. I can’t describe how satisfying it is when you hit them all, especially when the ‘special camera’ kicks in!
Have you played Zombie Army 4 yet? Maybe you picked up Sniper Elite V2 when it was remastered a few months ago? If so, you’ll be familiar with the x-ray death camera, a special effect which triggers when you pull off an accurate sniper shot. These events are awesome as you can see the bullet go through the enemies flesh and shatter their bones, brain, internal organs, or even their testicles. So, why am I bringing this up in an innocent game called ‘Ski Sniper‘? Simple – they’re also present within this game!
That’s right, if you pull off a shot that actually hits the last skier coming down the ramp, you’ll get a view of the bullet moving in slow motion as it shatters certain organs and/or bones before the victim ragdolls to their death. Unlike Zombie Army 4, this effect happens on every single shot that hits, rather than randomly, and there’s no way to turn it off. This means you ‘may’ grow tired of it over time, but I’m about 8 hours in and I’m still loving it.
But what’s the purpose of this brutal view? Each of the viewpoints you can shoot from has a bunch of objectives for you to complete, objectives such as: get 15 shots to the brain, destroy 25 livers, shatter 10 necks, and break 30 ribs. If you complete all the objectives given, you get a massive monetary bonus, so it’s worth trying to complete them.
Is there any purpose to Ski Sniper? Yes and no. There is, surprisingly, a decent selection of progression items in the form of guns and pills. As you earn money, you can buy new weapons which will reduce the random wobble they have whilst aiming, increase the zoom (which is essential for further away locations), and speed up the rate of fire. The pills affect your character, allowing them to go into focus and slow down the action for longer – Just like in Sniper Elite.
Unlike the Sniper Elite and Zombie Army series’ though, ‘focusing’ doesn’t enable a guide as to where the bullet will land once shot, so you have to work out the trajectory yourself based on wind and distance. Thankfully most of the skiers can be shot by aiming right at them, but when you’re at an angle or further away, aiming a little higher or to the side is required. I feel this is why I’ve become rather addicted to it, you have to skillfully learn how and where to shoot in order to get a hit, rather than being shown exactly what to do.
However, due to there being only one ramp and only a limited number of pills and guns to unlock, once you’ve acquired everything I’m not sure how replayable the game will be. Considering the price though, I feel I’ve already got a decent amount of enjoyment out of it, so I wouldn’t feel upset or annoyed if I didn’t see a reason to come back once I’ve unlocked all the weapons and done all the challenges.
Official Trailer (PC):
Ski Sniper is a strangely satisfying and skilful sniping simulation game. It’s a fun and twisted take on classics such as Duck Hunt, only this time you’re aiming for unsuspecting Winter Olympic athletes who are simply trying to land their jump, unaware that there’s a sneaky sniper hidden in the stands waiting to pull their finger on the trigger. The progression had me hooked as each new weapon and pill increased my skills in the field, enabling me to move location and take on new challenges. Overall, it’s a very silly game, yet really addictive and the x-ray kills are glorious.
- - Very satisfying to actually hit the skiers at a distance
- - Decent amount of progression with the unlockable weapons and pills, allowing you to move further back in the venue
- - The x-ray kills are always amusing
- - Such a silly idea which works quite well as a concept for a game
- - Easy to play but hard to master
- - Only one venue (although multiple viewpoints)
- - Can be pretty hard at first (until you've unlocked a better gun)
- - Once you've completed all the missions there probably won't be a reason to return