It’s impossible not to like Ski Safari. The music is catchy, the graphics are appealing, and the gameplay is simple and satisfying. What the developer has accomplished here is clearly worthy of praise. But we can’t help wishing they’d pushed themselves a little harder. If they’d started with a few original ideas, they could have made something special. Instead, we get an experience we’ve had many times before.
In Ski Safari, all you do is shuttle down a hill, trying to outrun an avalanche. Most of the time you’re on skis, but if you catch a penguin, bird, or yeti, you can ride on them for a while, getting a speed boost from the (no exactly consensual) partnership. You tap to jump, and while in the air you can press the screen to rotate in a backflip-like fashion. Land it successfully, and you get another speed boost. Bungle it, and you tumble, limbs akimbo, until you tap the screen enough times to recover.
Jump, yeti, jump!
Like most games of this type, every run ends with you succumbing to the inevitable– in this case it’s a snowy grave. What counts is the score you racked up while you lived. Doing flips in the air and keeping your feet on the ground racks up your score multiplier. You also have a list of three achievements to earn at any given time, for doing things landing X number of flips while riding yetis.
This is all good, fun stuff, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before in games like Jetpack Joyride, Canabalt, and Tiny Wings. If you’re new to the genre, you’ll definitely get a kick out of Ski Safari. But if you’ve played a few of the many other games like it, you’ll probably get tired of Ski Safari before you hit the half hour mark.
Make no mistake: to play Ski Safari is to enjoy Ski Safari. So it’s unfortunate that there’s really nothing new to be found here. Clearly the developer has talent, and we’d love to see it put to better use with their next game.