While spring might be just around the corner, that doesn’t mean winter is gone for good yet, so strap on those skis and snowboards and get going! Or if it’s above freezing where you live, you could always do what we did and hop into Grand Mountain Adventure: Wonderlands, Microids and Toppluva’s newest release and the latest in the snowboarding and skiing sim genre.
Grand Mountain Adventure features 10 different levels, set in 10 different countries, of absolutely massive mountains that you can ski or snowboard down. Each mountain is its own open world, containing a variety of challenges and courses that you can choose to partake in or not, or if you just want to chill out and ski around in Zen Mode, that’s fine too. However, playing on Challenge mode and collecting ski passes from these challenges is the only way to unlock ski lifts to get you further up the mountain and to unlock other levels and challenges. It’s a well thought out, nicely tiered system, and it doesn’t force you to participate in particular styles of challenges as there are more passes available than needed, both for unlocking lifts and levels.
The basic structure and gameplay of Grand Mountain Adventure is great. The tier ski-lift system and the different levels separate the game and stop it from feeling too overwhelming, yet still vast, and the choice of switching between skis and snowboards is absolute perfection. Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks that come along with the chairlift ride.
The biggest drawback that the game has is the camerawork. Grand Mountain Adventure exclusively uses a top-down view, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, but the fact that your person is in the middle of the screen at all times means you can’t always see as far ahead as you would like, and the lack of being able to zoom in significantly gets frustrating, especially when you get stuck. The camera also auto-adjusts as you ski, which is mostly good, and takes away the hassle of having to constantly readjust it manually, but sometimes it changes to bizarre or unhelpful positions by itself.
Grand Mountain Adventure would also benefit from accessibility options. While changing skis vs snowboards is nice, it doesn’t actually inherently affect the game or gameplay. Changing the colors of the slalom markers so they stand out, instead of having just light blue on a blueish-white background would actually help immensely, as would being able to change the color of your person so they pop out from the background. Combined with the unfortunate camerawork, I often found myself squinting at the screen of my Switch, trying to figure out what direction I was going and where I was supposed to go in some of the challenges.
Despite my gripes about accessibility options and the camera, Grand Mountain Adventure: Wonderlands is a great deal of fun for winter sports enthusiasts. There are a ton of variety and low-pressure challenges to be found, and the game does scale up the difficulty as you progress through the course levels. Playing on Zen mode is also entertaining and relaxed, and possibly even more fun than Challenge mode. Bottom line is that if you can put up with some poor visibility and annoying camerawork, even in short doses, Grand Mountain Adventure: Wonderlands is a fine choice for a casual yet challenging ski/snowboard game.
TechRaptor reviewed Grand Mountain Adventure: Wonderlands on Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on PC and mobile.
- Great tiered layout of content
- Choice to switch between skis and snowboards
- Variety of fun and interesting challenges
- Few camera options
- No accessibility options, causing difficult visuals at points