GSY PREVIEW | PC Friday, January 31, 2014 | 11:50 AM

Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it Snow!

Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it Snow!

Buried within the avalanche of early access games available on Steam you might come across Snow, a future free-to-play titles, developed by Swedish studio Poppermost Productions. As surprising as it may seem to the genre, the team behind the game relies on the participation of users to finance the project and enable it to become free-to-play. Several packages are available on its Steam page at the moment ranging between 14 to 55 euros. Currently only offered in Alpha form, the developers still have a lot of work left, but the game is already looking rather promising.
Note: The game is currently devoid of environmental audio for now and, as such, the first three videos lack sound. Therefore, we decided to add some music from our own library for the six other videos, which include extracts from original songs and covers by Walk off the Earth and the band's only girl Sarah Blackwood.




Snow den

The content currently available is quite limited and, in the future, Snow will offer players the choice of microtransactions in order to obtain new equipment for the skier. A number of well-known brands in skiing are fully represented, and should satisfy fans of the sport. Skis (and eventually snowboards) are available in several different varieties (bronze, silver, and gold) which we imagine players will have to buy better equipment to keep up with the others and stay competitive. Presented as an open world, Snow already delivers an exhilarating feeling freedom in its current form. The major ski areas are completely open to exploration opening up opportunities to discover breathtaking scenery and some highly realistic terrain. The coherence of the world as a whole is certainly a nice touch complete with smooth transitions between rocky terrain, forests, all the way to various ski lodges and practice stations (such as a half-pipe). Stumble upon a nearby road or frozen stream and the game even allows you to wander for miles in the direction of your choice. The game still being in the works, there is no difference of sensations when skiing on different terrains but we hope it will be added soon. The team is planning to implement time of day (including night) and weather options in the more distant future which will no doubt only serve to improve the environmental variety.

Ski to Play

Of course, in its Alpha form, Snow isn't quite ready for primetime from a gameplay perspective; physics are rough and certain motions simply don't feel quite right. There's also crash bugs and issues with gamepad configuration (camera control on the right stick is not available, as it only serves for tricks when in the air, the use of the B button sometimes results in a pause screen for whatever reason, vibration is missing completely, etc…). Of course, as development pushes onward, we can imagine that most of these issues will be ironed out, but unlike a number of other Early Access titles, Snow simply doesn't offer a whole lot of "game" right now. Visually speaking, of course, CryEngine does wonders for this type of environment sometimes bordering on photo realistic, though issues with the shadows do sometimes spoil an otherwise perfect scene. Tracks in the snow are also curiously missing at the moment while some of the animations are still a bit on the rough side. It really drags down the sensation of movement but there is no doubt that they have plans to work on this aspect. As mentioned above, the lack of sound effects really impacts the experience and works against any sense of immersion the game may otherwise achieve. Of course, as this is the PC, it's simple enough to play your own music in the background, but that definitely doesn't make up for the lack of sound effects.

Impressions


For those willing to pay for early access to Snow, you'll find a compelling world to explore full of realistic and beautiful slopes just waiting for you to carve up. Of course, its early development shortcomings can be difficult to ignore (lack of audio, rough animations, etc). Still, this Alpha release has a lot of promise with a massive world, incredible visuals (despite the heavy use of depth of field), and a playground that is very immersive. We can only hope, then, that they might find a way to restore color to a genre that has fallen by the wayside in recent years...and this is a challenge they might just fail if the economic side of the game doesn't work out.



Details about the latest update:

• Multiplayer is now available for all users
• Main Menu updated with new functionality
• Visual and Gameplay options added to Main Menu
• Store redesigned
• Skis now use both left and right graphics
• You can now customize your character while in-game
• Session Markers have been implemented
• New in-air rotation system
• Rework persistent player profile
• Improved half-pipe gameplay
• In-game UI and Spawn Selection have been updated to a new style

Moutain landscapes
Alpha version - Gameplay #1
Alpha version - Gameplay #2
Trailer
Sunset - Champs Elysées
Listen to the Music - WOTE
Revo - Walk off the Earth
Gang of Rythm - WOTE
Sarah Blackwood
Awkward tricks - Feat. WOTE

All comments

Commented on 2014-01-31 15:01:13
The snow is like really flat its not reacting to the skiing at all!!
Commented on 2014-01-31 15:01:57 In reply to vixtor7
Care to read?
Commented on 2014-01-31 15:13:36 In reply to Driftwood
I did its just very funny looking to me,nice music though.
Commented on 2014-01-31 15:22:34
Well no snow here but I don't think my car likes the cold weather. I've never really turned the heat on in it, only the cold air A/C.
Commented on 2014-01-31 16:12:13 In reply to vixtor7
Well, the music you hear isn't part of the game, but if you mean good choice for the videos, thanks. ;)
Commented on 2014-01-31 16:39:51
A very appropiate game for us folks still being stalked by the Polar Vortex. Brrrrrr...
Commented on 2014-01-31 19:59:16
not my kinda game, but it looks really great, once they do a few touch ups it would be perfect, like some normal/parallax maps for the ski trails left behind by the player, it would be perfect.

The cry-engine is really coming into it's own, I hope alot more devs use it, especially for games with huge open world vistas, and with the huge v-ram the current consoles have, there shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Commented on 2014-02-01 17:10:58
fuckin' chromatic aberration.
Commented on 2014-02-02 17:03:57
They really nailed the looks of those snow-covered-rocks. There's a very nice feeling of scale, space and distance, especially in that last video with dam. If someone could kickstart a new Midwinter game looking like this!!

The speedometer seems a bit off. Like when he's going downhill at which looks like 60-70km/h and it reads 40. :)

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