Prior to landing on Nintendo Switch, Ramp Car Jumping was a free-to-play mobile phone game laced with ads. It was a simple and quick-to-pick-up concept that ideally suited mobile gaming: accelerate a selection of different vehicles down a ramp to see how far they could fly through the air before landing with a thud (potentially in more than one piece). Perfectly efficient thrills for your smartphone, but with a retail price of £13.49 on the Switch, there needs to be enough content to justify the ride.
The simple menu selection screen offers single-player or two-player stunt action, with further vehicles being made available to buy as you earn points performing stunts with each launch off the ramp. Cars, trucks, buses, steamrollers: they are all options in this game that lives up to its incredibly literal title with ease. Besides the variety of vehicles, different arenas unlock as the game progresses, offering a visual assortment of locations.
Although the cars are not officially licensed models, it is fairly easy to identify the real-life equivalent that each one alludes to. Upgrades can be purchased to increase each vehicle’s chances of reaching the target distance, but the options on offer are quite straightforward: you can increase its speed or weight. This isn’t the sort of game where you feel you can really get under the hood and fine-tune lots of variables for your machine.
The controls are simple (a hint of its mobile phone origins), with the A button accelerating your vehicle, and the left stick tilting your car back or forth, allowing you to perform some mid-air spins for more points. It would have been nice to have a little more finesse in the controls, because as things stand there is not actually a lot for the player to do, other than earn points for a landing, spend those points on adjusting your car’s speed and weight to increase the distance it can travel, and then repeat. Again and again.
The graphics are functional without flair. Each arena is distinctly different, with unique objects to crash into, and there is some satisfaction in creating a little carnage with each landing. There’s a satisfying sense of speed as your car approaches the end of the ramp and launches into the air, but the game could benefit from a lot more punch. Sound effects are unspectacular (they certainly won’t make your ears pop) and there is no adrenalin-pumping soundtrack to keep you behind the wheel. When playing in handheld mode, I soon turned the vibration effects off, as they felt too constant to have any potency.
Ramp Car Racing feels like a tech demo with some entertaining physics. It’s hard to find enough content here to justify classifying it as a game in which you can really have much input. Once you’ve accelerated a steamroller off a ramp and on to the rocky surface of the moon, there isn’t much impetus to do it again.
The split-screen two-player mode offers a little more fun, although disappointingly there isn’t the option of launching at the same time on the same ramp, thus negating the potential for entertaining mid-air collisions that could potentially fumble your opponent’s planned trajectory. There is also a Draw mode in which the player draws the path of a ramp to achieve the best height and speed to hit a target, but again this won’t sustain interest for long.
Ramp Car Jumping suffers from a steep price point that makes it hard to justify a purchase. If you can find it heavily discounted, then it may be worth a punt.
Ramp Car Jumping £13.49
If you like your gameplay to be repetitive and downhill (albeit with a boost at the end), Ramp Car Jumping could be just the ride for you. There are some fun physics at play, but not enough depth.