Published and developed by Blue Sunset Games, Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020 is a nice little time killer if you like winter sports. Oops, did I say winter sports? I meant sport. As in singular. As in one sport. Ski Jumping.
To be fair, Blue Sunset is from Poland, where I’m guessing ski jumping is still a big sport outside the Olympics. I guess what I’m saying is if you’re gonna build a video game based on a single winter sport, ski jumping seems an odd choice. I’ll have more to say on that later. For now let’s get into the game.
Ultimate Ski Jumping 2020 is a game about, you guessed it, ski jumping, with both winter and summer competitions you can ski jump. You can even ski jump on the moon or at the beach. The story campaign has lots of training jumps, qualification jumps and tournaments waiting for you to ski jump your way to glory. Ski jumping. Good ol’ ski jumping.
Ok, so graphically the game has an early 1990’s look to it with old skool pixel design. The color palette for each hill is vibrant, yet simple. There really isn’t much more to say than that.
The game has five modes of play; the Campaign has a bit of a story, where you guide your character from humble beginnings to the ultimate Ski Jumping championship, becoming increasingly more challenging along the way. You can set up tournaments on selected ski jumping hills. Quickplay let’s you choose everything from the hill, to the number of opponents, and the difficulty level. Online multiplayer let’s you set up matches with up to 50 of your friends. You can do this locally as well. And finally there is a training mode to hone your skills.
There is a little bit of customization for your ski jumper. From his helmet to his uniform, skis, gloves, etc. I believe these are only cosmetic upgrades and have little or nothing to do with performance.
Soundwise the game features an enjoyable 90’s arcade music style. Sound effects are minimal. One thing that seemed a bit off was the crowd noise. It was inconsistent. Occasionally I’d get wild cheering on an awful jump or silence on an amazing jump. That was weird.
Ski jumping is as follows; wait for the light to turn green. Press A to start down the hill. Press A again to jump off the bottom of the ramp. You can adjust your body position in the air using the thumbstick to try to reduce your wind resistance – there is an indicator in the corner of the screen for wind direction. Press A again to come in for a clean landing. And there you have it folks. Ski jumping. Once you have that mastered you can move up to the advanced controls.
Now you have to jump with both feet. So you press A and B simultaneously to jump. Landing is a bit trickier here; Press A and B at slightly different times to land with one foot slightly forward for bonus style points. This will be key for boosting your scores on jumps where the wind is against you.
So is $9.99 a fair price to pay? Ultimately that is up to you. Overall I found the experience to be enjoyable but short. What good is multiplayer if nobody is playing the game? I literally sat in a multiplayer lobby for the entire time it took me to write this review waiting for somebody, anybody, to join. The controls are simple and it plays well but the developers seem to have chosen a sport that, on its own, just doesn’t garner interest.
Hopefully they can build off of this and do a complete game of winter sports for around $20-$25. Perhaps even a summer version as well. It could be like that old Konami classic Track and Field. For me, $9.99 for one event just doesn’t cut the mustard. No matter how many different hills you put it on, at the end of the day, it’s just ski jumping.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.