This is Rocket Ski Racing. It's a futuristic racing game where players speed through icy stages with a rocket strapped to their back. That doesn't sound especially safe, but I'm committed to figuring out what's going on in this Steam Early Access release. Let's crib sheet this.
I love racing games! What sets this one apart?
Well, Rocket Ski Racing is a racing game where you ski with a rocket strapped to your back. I mean, it's kind of all in the title. You race around a bunch of gravity defying tracks filled with slick ice and aggressive loop-de-loops. The result is a fast-paced racing game where one misstep will send you flying off the course.
It's also worth mentioning that you don't have any control over your speed. You don't brake around corners or speed up in straight stretches, you just go until you either win or run off the course. To be fair, that's probably what would happen if I strapped a rocket to my back, but it makes me wonder why somebody would invent a sport where you can't even slow down. That makes no sense.
This looks tough!
Yeah, it kind of is. There are only two types of races in the current build, and both of them are frustrating for different reasons. We start with a standard gate chase, which allows the player to tackle the course without anybody else to get in the way. The goal is to race through the different gates, which should be a lot easier than it is. The gates are insanely narrow and tough to fit through when going at top speeds. This is especially tough around corners. And since one mistake will end the race, I found some of the more complicated levels to be especially frustrating.
There's also a traditional race mode, but it's not any more forgiving. By not being able to speed up or slow down, it means that all of the racers are going at the exact same speed. This means that the only way to overtake opponents is to make perfect corners and stick to the race line with religious conviction. While I was able to gain the advantage in quite a few races, I found this approach to be weirdly limiting. I hold out hope they'll do more with this concept before it gets a proper release.
Is this from a first-time developer?
Actually, it's not. Rocket Ski Racing comes from developer Jared Bailey, who has previously sharpened his teeth on a number of iOS games. This isn't even the first time Jared has tackled racing or snow events, as he gave us Cubed Rally Redline in 2012 and Cubed Snowboarding 2014. Rocket Ski Racing is his first foray into PC gaming, so it will be exciting to see how he and the game grow as time goes on.
Rocket Ski Racing has a solid idea that could be a lot of fun, assuming it's tweaked a bit and made a little less unforgiving. The game could also use some different backgrounds and character models, but I suspect we'll see more of that in the coming months. The game is currently $10 on Steam, which seems a bit steep for what you get. I have my fingers crossed that this evolves into something great.