For those of us who are 80’s children, we grew up with a very simple arcade classic called Horace Goes Skiing. It was one part Frogger, one part downhill arcade game. Horatio Goes Snowboarding is a fine 2021 update with new graphics and some nuanced board work. The concept hasn’t changed though.
Put simply, this is a score chaser game and thank goodness for online leaderboards (although local ones would have been welcome). Each day sees Horatio cross three roads to get to his chopper and take to the slopes and if you need to, you have to buy a new snowboard on the way. This is Frogger 101 but done well enough to not be annoying.
The meat of the game is on the slopes and here is where the updates come in. Each run is randomly generated and will get full of more obstacles and faster as you progress from day to day. Horatio can board straight down and run faster than the camera allows but a tight turn runs you too slowly and so you have to balance out your moves to stay on the rolling map as you’ll fall off if you are too slow or not see obstacles coming if you are too fast. The snowboarding feels arcadey but with momentum to it like you are actually on snow with slippery grip, not something with on/off turns which is lovely. Trees, snowmen, huts and poles get in the way and cause you to crash and doing so sends you to hospital for fees and to buy a new snowboard. Get to the bottom of the run and you’ll get some cash and the game continues until you crash so much you run out of money.
Each day’s run is progressively harder and your risk vs reward increases too. Run close to objects and you get showboating points but it is also wise to board through your flag sets to chain up points and win a cash bonus for a perfect run at the bottom. Yeti’s will chase you and uproot trees in your path. Other skiers are on the course to bump out the way for bonuses. Mini snow mounds cause you to spear wildly off to the side. These objects get more frantic the faster you go and in endless mode you also get party lights and dance music to make you feel alive too. It’s all good fun and whilst the game does suffer with a framerate drop when it gets really fast at around day 9 or 10 – it’s still fun.
What Horation Goes Snowboarding doesn’t do is then press on from the original much further than that. It is a solid arcade experience and I enjoyed the couple of hours I’ve had with it so far from both an arcade and a nostalgia perspective. Older gamers I think will get more fun out of it as it takes you back to simpler time. I’ll be digging out my copy of Horace on the ZX Spectrum to remember the good times again as a result of this and that’s not a bad thing at all.
Review copy provided by publisher.
Horation Goes Snowboarding
Simple arcade fun that pays respectful and faithful homage to an 80's classic.
Pure arcade fun.
A funny sense of humour and quirky additional missions for trophies / achievements.
Won't probably catch on with the younger audience who haven't enjoyed Horace as a child.
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