Although inspired by a micro-computer game of yore â€“ 1982â€™s often ridiculed Spectrum hit Horace Goes Skiing â€“ this homage has a rather arcade-like feel to it. This isnâ€™t necessarily due to its physics engine or polygon visuals, but its limited amount of content and features. With the Â£5.79 asking price in mind though (just a few pence less than Horace Goes Skiingâ€™s original RRP, funnily enough) you could argue an arcade-like nature was always a given.
It mimics its inspiration closely. Horatio â€“ a dead ringer for Grandpa Flump â€“ hits the slopes in the name of fame and fortune, earning a small sum upon zooming past the finishing line. As long as thereâ€™s Â£100 in the kitty to cover medical bills, our rotund adrenaline junky can get on the piste.
Rather than levels or stages, it brings back the considerably â€˜80s concept of â€˜daysâ€™ â€“ each day features new hazards, and progression is tracked by how many days youâ€™re able to see and survive.
A day begins with Horatio dodging traffic, ala Frogger, and grabbing a board from the hire shop before leaping into a helicopter. Traffic becomes busier over time, making things trickier. Even so, Horatio shouldnâ€™t end up as roadkill too often â€“ itâ€™s a simple case of timing and looking for patterns.
Hitting the slopes is a far more dangerous pursuit. Itâ€™s also here where some technical wizardry is on display. Not only are courses randomly generated â€“ with some surprises, such as a yeti attack, in store â€“ but the snowboard handling is reasonably nuanced. Movement is appropriately slippery, and by sliding left and right Horatio remains at the top of the screen, giving advance warning of incoming hazards. Keep movement to a minimum, and Horatio will begin to travel downwards, giving less time to react.
This means you need to find a balance between taking risks and staying put, while also measuring up the consequences of trying to pass through every gate that appears – you may end up careening off course and smacking a tree.
A typical game lasts just a few minutes initially, with games eventually exceeding ten minutes after becoming well-acquainted. Itâ€™s a reasonably compelling loop; one designed to be replayed countless times â€“ a handful of achievements are linked to events that only occur during Day 7 or after, which takes skill to reach. Moreover, a cumulative score of one million is required to unlock the endless mode.
Keeping in the spirit of arcade games, friendsâ€™ high scores also are shown on the title screen â€“ a nice touch that lends a competitive edge.
Unless youâ€™re expecting a multitude of features (Horatio canâ€™t even be kitted out in different clothing, and there are no tricks or stunts to speak of despite the premise) itâ€™s likely youâ€™ll find Horatio Goes Snowboarding a small but pleasing package. Its non-violent, easy to pick up, nature makes it ideal for younger gamers too. This is a decent budget buy, and unlike some of the cheaper games on the Xbox Store, it doesnâ€™t give away the keys to the kingdom too soon.