Sports can make for interesting and exciting virtual reality (VR) experiences, whether its football, pool, boxing, racing or anything in between, with the transition to VR proving to be fruitful. If a title looks to portray its chosen sport realistically, then it has to balance this with good gameplay dynamics alongside content variety. So you’d have thought a winter sport such as ski jumping might provide an exhilarating experience, but the recent arrival of Ski Sport: Jumping VR for HTC Vive shows that might not be the case.
Ski Sport: Jumping VR offers one simple objective, race down the hill and try to jump as far as possible, just as required in real life – apart from the risk of an horrendous accident should it all go wrong. You take to the top of the hill where you’re presented with the basic mechanics of the videogame – the motion controllers aren’t needed to operate anything, as there’s not a great deal to interact with – simply crouch to speed up, and stand up (jump a little) to launch of the end of the ramp.
All of this works fine, the more you squat down the faster you go and getting the timing just right will see the overall distance increase. The biggest problem with Ski Sport: Jumping VR is that that is all there is to do. The winter, snow covered mountainside you find yourself on looks good and so does the scenery as you hurtle through the air for the first five to ten times, it’s just that there’s nothing else to do, nothing at all.
Those first few times rushing down the ramp are enjoyable enough but once in the air that’s it control over, you just wait to land. Your ski’s automatically move into the desired position so those finer tweaks that can make or break a good distance are removed. As such landing is always perfect, there’s no rolling around the snow in Ski Sport: Jumping VR.
This is a Steam Early Access title that has potential but only if some fundamentals can be sorted first. More content is a given which the studio has already confirmed its working on, with more locations and ramps included. But just as important is the need for greater control within the videogame, and by that meaning more chances to fail because then the repetition doesn’t become mundane and boring it then elevates it to being an addictive challenge.
The issue most players will have at the moment is cost, while the Steam Early Access price is cheap, the content that’s supplied really can’t justify it. There are no online leaderboards at present so trying to squeeze game time out of Ski Sport: Jumping VR really requires some local competition between friends. And as a single-player experience complete a good few jumps and you’ll done with it. Ski Sport: Jumping VR is a title to keep an eye on, with nice VR qualities, it just needs more of everything.