Horatio Goes Snowboarding Review

Horatio Goes Snowboarding is about as bare bones as you can expect in gaming today, though that’s not to say there isn’t any merit here. Infinite State Games have looked to the games of yesteryear it seems and just implemented, well, something to play without any of the modern frills that so often get rammed down our throats: no Battle Pass, no MTX, no frivolous extra modes or multiplayer. Just you, Horatio, a snowboard, and a randomly generated snowscape to descend in search of the high score. It’s not going to last us very long, but for short, snappy bursts of pure gameplay Horatio Goes Snowboarding will do the trick.

As I say, the game wastes no time in getting us into the action. The menu simply offers us the option to play, and doing so sees us placed in a mountain side town ready to go snowboarding. The first port of call is to grab a snowboard which is easier said than done due to the need to cross several busy roads along the way before making it to the helicopter on the other side of town that’ll be our ride to the mountain. It’s fully possible to get game over before we even set foot on the powder, but in all reality this little interlude simply proves to be a mild break in between levels more than a real challenge.

Make it to the chopper and we’re dropped at the top of a run to then make our way down safely without slamming into trees, or getting caught by Big Foot who occasionally turns up to chase us down. Each run is randomly generated and they get progressively harder the more successful attempts we have in a row. The nature of the random courses of course means that sometimes we’re simply left with a run that is insanely hard or insanely easy, though to be fair I’ve only found one or two so far that felt out of place with the general progression. There are checkpoint gates to go through to rack up points as well as bonuses awarded for near misses with solid objects or knocking down fellow boarders. Reach the end and we’re given a cash bonus, adding to the pot for respawning when we inevitably face plant a rock and need medical care. Fail to have enough cash to cover the bills and it’s game over, our score added to a running overall total.

This score is tracked on the leaderboards but more importantly works towards unlocking the solitary extra mode in Horatio Goes Snowboarding; Endless mode. Now, in order to unlock this we need a whopping one million total points. Most of my runs were ending with between 10k and 30k, so as you can imagine getting the unlock is going to take some time. In fact, a check of the leaderboard shows that even the No.1 ranked player hasn’t achieved half of this at the time of writing; with my score sitting in around the 170 mark after a couple hours play. While I admire Infinite State’s goals, there simply isn’t enough variety or incentive to keep playing in order to unlock the mode. The gameplay is fun in short bursts but once you’ve done one run you’ve basically seen all the game has to offer. Again, the random nature eliminates any chance of learning courses and puts our success or failure at the whim of the RNG, while the lack of any really new and interesting elements mean that each run tends to blend together.

Conclusion

There’s not really much more to say about Horatio Goes Snowboarding. Visually it’s passable if hardly outstanding, while audibly I had to shut it off after just a few minutes thanks to some aggressively naff music and sound effects. The experience is slight and seems better suited to mobile or Switch gaming where you can pick it up for five minutes here and there rather than sitting in front of the big screen for any length of time. Fun enough in very short bursts but there are far better titles to stick the Xbox on for.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Simple gameplay
  • Easy to get into
Bad
  • Incredibly slight in features
  • RNG can make or break a run
  • Unlocking the one extra mode requires far more of an investment than is worth doing
4
Poor
Gameplay - 5
Graphics - 5
Audio - 2
Longevity - 4
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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