The satisfaction of letting loose a round from a sniper rifle is so great.
It’s often the case that all I wanted to do in games like GTA5 was to source a helicopter, find a vantage point and pick off civilians while giggling maniacally (I’m on the phone to the police – Ed.). So here we have Ski Sniper, the simply named game where your goal as a marksman sniper is to take out poor souls skiing down a mountain. Yet while it’s a simple premise, the difficult act of taking out those pesky skiers is what makes this game so challenging and so frustrating.
Starting life as a Steam game, Ski Sniper tasks you with taking out skiers with your trusty sniper rifle. There’s no explanation given – any particular grudges held by you, or crimes committed by these skiers are never mentioned, but I can forgive a simple premise when it’s such a hilarious concept and title. After my first few rounds, I felt that a mouse and keyboard set up would have felt great to play with, offering the speed and accuracy that this difficult task demands.
Sadly, the Switch controls are sluggish, cumbersome and the omission of any motion controls hurts this further. My experience in trying to take out those poor winter sports fans was repeatedly met with frustration as the controls disappointed. Skiers move very quickly making following them difficult, especially when multiple skiers follow on the same run. But eventually, I adjusted, and while it never truly felt ‘great’ to control, taking out targets became easier with a lot of patience and some unlockable upgraded guns.
At your advantage is the ability to zoom in on targets, while holding your breath will cause the skiers to slow down on-screen, giving you a precious few moments to hit your mark. Thankfully, when you finally do manage to make bullet meet skier skull, it is immensely satisfying. The camera suddenly follows your winning bullet, with the poor victim’s body being presented as an X-Ray to explicitly detail the round tearing through flesh and derailing any dreams of medals that skier might have held. The body lifelessly falls down the hill and blood tumbles out of them with every slap onto the pristine white slope. Anyone who’s recently played Sniper Elite will recognise the X-Ray cam and the appeal of finally hitting a difficult mark. It feels great and is frankly hilarious, so while it takes a lot of work this eventually becomes an occasionally satisfying, if frustrating, video game.
Ski Sniper doesn’t offer much else, though. This is a bare bones experience with a single location and very little to offer beyond the basic hook. You’ll be viewing the same slope repeatedly, just from slightly different angles and with different cash bonuses for each. You’ll be earning more money depending on the varying difficulty that each vantage point’s distance and visibility dictate. Your hard-earned cash will eventually be used to unlock different weapons, which nicely offer a decent bit of variety to proceedings, including an unlockable crossbow if you really grind for it. These different weapons, as well as new objectives at each slope offer a little bit of variety, but there’s little beyond this.
Ultimately Ski Sniper is a basic experience that’s fun for a few short blasts but can’t offer much beyond that. A lack of decent control options and things to do hold back the occasionally fun core gameplay. But if you truly hate skiers, this might be the game for you.
Ski Sniper £4.49
A simple concept stretched too thinly, Ski Sniper is satisfying when it hits its mark but clumsy controls and a lack of variety mean in the long-term this will only be keeping your attention if you truly have a vendetta against skiers.