Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sledder!



I spent quite some time yesterday pondering over what game to review for today's post, but it was while visiting some of my usual gaming haunts that I fell upon Sledder! (their exclamation mark, not mine.) I was so instantly taken aback by its overall mediocrity that I felt no other alternative but to rant about it for five minutes on a blog. So I will.

As the name might suggest, downhill sledding plays a big part in Sledder!, but while I've never been sledding myself I can only assume it's far more fun than this game makes it out to be. Controls are as simple as they come, with the left and right arrow keys controlling the direction of the sledder as you watch him speed down a seemingly neverending mountain. Of course things are never that simple, and you have to make your way down the track without colliding into trees.

It doesn't win any awards for originality but it still sounded like a pretty decent game. There are four difficulty levels, ranging from "Easy" to "Insane," and since it was my first time playing I opted for "Easy" in order to get a feel for the game.

So, off I go:



Don't worry, something's coming...



It's just letting the anticipation build. I know we'll hit a big bunch of trees real soon.



Why has the snow turned pink? It looks like someone went out there earlier in the day with a flock of flamingos and a wood chipper.



What in the hell?

It dawned on me fairly quickly that I was not to expect any obstacles of any kind whatsoever, unless you count the lines of trees on either side of the sledder to be obstacles, which they aren't. The end result is that "Easy" should be relabelled "Piss Easy" and the developers should give you 10,000 points just for selecting it.

Indeed, the difficulty levels should be renamed, "Piss Easy", "Still Easy", "Not Much Harder" and "An Actual Challenge" because those are far more accurate. Of course, it doesn't change the fact that regardless of the difficulty very little changes. The track just gets slightly more jagged and have to pay slightly more attention. I was able to let the game run on "Easy" without moving the sledder one inch and I still racked up a decent score.

The endless mountain is remarkably annoying. There's nothing to play for, no checkpoints to reach (as far as I know - you can only play this game for so long before your bordeom has you committing suicide by driving yourself straight into the nearest spruce.) Sure, there is the incentive of scoring as many points as possible, but since you can't see how many you've accumulated until after you've crashed you could wind up feeling disappointed by your final tally.

And why exactly does the snow change colours? I understand, perhaps the developers were worried players would get bored by the same repetitive white background, but the truth is we're bored by the shitty gameplay. I can accept a constantly white screen, it's a sledding game. But I refuse to accept that anybody bar the remarkebly easy to please would find Sledder! enjoyable - and even they'd get bored eventually.

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