I am a man of simple tastes. Give me something intriguing with arcade gameplay and I won’t be bored. The creators of Mad Snowboarding have gone above and beyond this call. I’d be happy with just a return of games like Cool Boarders 2, with less EXTREME decoration and tighter controls. These developers, however, they start off with that idea and then layer on top a bunch of wacky nonsense. I mean, why not have a werewolf in your snowboarding game? Their highly attuned senses would be perfect for navigating the slopes, and they could probably fight off any yetis that might be wandering around with relative ease.
Mad Snowboarding is a snowboarding game that originally appeared in a free to play form on all manner of phones and app stores before eventually coming to PC. I’m not going to lie to you and say that the game makes the transition to PC well. The graphics aren’t exactly state of the art as you can see, and some of the levels lack invisible walls, so you can just plow into the abyss if you go too far off course. It’s a phone game through and through, with star rating at the end of each level, buttons advertising other games and a screen asking you for a rating when you quit (even in the itch.io version, which is a storefront that doesn’t support that kind of thing).
However, the game does have a few positives as well. The controls on PC with either keyboard or controller are simplistic and easy to pick up, and you’ll be doing giant flips and spins during the tutorial. There are also several different paths other than the one that the game recommends, and no one stops you from screwing around on the mountain, even when you’re supposed to be learning how to play. It’s sad that we’ve gotten this far in games, but it was refreshing that the game didn’t seem to care whether I wanted to learn its tricks or not.
There is also a pretty good track editor included in the game, and the community of Mad Skateboarding on other platforms have provided us with a long list of custom tracks. Some of them have unfortunate names filled with profanity of course, but it is a lot of content to go through if you enjoy the basic gameplay. That’s the main crux of it—I had a lot of fun with the game despite its shortcomings. The same things I hate about most phone games are somewhat charming in the slightly off kilter world of Mad Skateboarding. I wanted to unlock the ice golem and the werewolf and the dude riding an unlicensed Back to the Future hoverboard. There is also an anime schoolgirl in the game, which I’m sure other people would like to unlock.
In the end, I can only admit that Mad Snowboarding charmed the heck out of me, in the same way that I genuinely enjoy loading up Big Rigs from time to time. It has the gameplay of an NES game and the devil may care attitude of later day Saints Row. More importantly, it didn’t make me feel like an idiot for playing it like a good majority of phone ports out there. It’s not pandering to you during basic tutorials like you were a baby. It’s not squeezing out mechanics at the slowest pace possible. Mad Snowboarding just wants you to have fun with the limited tools at its disposal.
The game is currently on Steam Greenlight waiting for votes, or you could purchase it on itch.io for $2.50. That seems like a fair price for what’s here, a competent snowboarding game that is fun in quick bursts and has wacky characters in it for no discernible reason. The developers know their limits as a team and invite you to come along with them into their madness. I happily accept the invitation.
What games have you seen trapped in the Greenlight system that deserve a spotlight? How crazy am I that I kind of liked this game? How many people will complain that I didn’t cover something else? Find out below in the comments! I’ll make some popcorn.