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Snow Show- Alpine Racer Reviewed

Alpine Racer for the iPhone. Developer: Namco, Publisher: Namco Networks. $5.99

When a new first person shooter appears, I often have a point of reference for its weaponry. Over the years, I’ve fired a perverse amount of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Therefore, when a game features a Desert Eagle, I know if the amount of accuracy and recoil jive with my real world experiences. One activity I’ve never engaged, is any kind of snow sport, from skiing to snowboarding. All my experiences have been in the virtual realm, from Activision’s Skiing for the 2600 to SSX for the Playstation 2.

Although I’ve never been skiing, I doubt the Alpine Racer, Namco’s latest snow racer for the iPhone, is anything close to a simulation. That would be perfectly acceptable if the title offered the arcade sensibilities found in the aforementioned SSX. Unfortunately, even as an arcade diversion, Alpine Racer offers a slightly lackluster experience.

Players are offered two control methods- touch and tilt control. When touch control is selected, the player controls the virtual athlete with their left thumb, pressing left or right to steer. A slight move forward initiates a tuck to reduce wind resistance and increase speed. The right thumb is used to press an icon when the player is airborne and wants to execute a trick. Sadly, the game’s tracks are predominantly turn based, and don’t allow for much ‘air’. Twice when playing with the touch control method, the game seemed unresponsive, although that could be due to my large thumb size.

The second control method doesn’t offer as much finesse. When players approach a patch of trees on the virtual slopes, tilt control proved slightly inexact. Quite often I would hit a tree that I was desperately trying to avoid, slowing my race times. Luckily, hitting a solid object only sends the player into a short tumble animation.
Sadly, Alpine Racer doesn’t offer the track diversity I would have expected. The game offers only three tracks, plus one unlockable course. Although each of the courses contain a number of junctions, they also contain a high number of right angles that seem out of place in a skiing/snowboarding game. Graphically, the game’s framerate is typical for an iPhone racing title, and is just shy of being fluid.

Although, the iTunes Store has a dearth of winter sports titles, there are a multitude of racers on the platform that all feel strangely similar. For fans that must have a snow-based competition, Alpine Racer wins by default. However, for the player with more relaxed standards, there are a number of slightly stronger apps out there.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

20 comments

  1. Snow way, dude!

  2. I’ve read other people not likely the iphone app review, but I just want to say i appreciate them.

  3. I bought this a week ago, and felt ripped of. I though Namco meant quality.

  4. Where’s RRRIDDDDGGGEEE RRRRACCCEEERRR?

  5. Who the hell puts snowmen on a ski run? Hahaha

  6. Ok, it’s $6 now, how much would you pay for it?!?!

  7. No, where the hell is Dig Dug???

  8. About $1.99 would be my soft spot.

  9. Ok, I’m really looking at getting an iphone soon.

  10. So, is that how you got your name, Mr. Desert eagle?

  11. Should have titled the review ‘Snow Business’

  12. I agree all the racing games feel the same on iphone, same slow sense of speed, and control method. I have three and don’t need another one.

  13. I hate to complain, but this seems priced a bit too high.

  14. They make wait times go bye-bye. I no longer hate standing in line, waiting for people or being stuck in traffic.

  15. Jeez, how big are your thumbs, DE?

  16. For a Namco game, I’d raise to $2.99 but nothing over.

  17. Bigger than any other part, most likely 😉

  18. Plenty of other good games out there.

  19. Does namco ever have sales on their games? If not no way.

    BTW, Fildrunners is $2.99 right now. Thats’s one great Iphone game.

  20. Yep, this seems to be the popular gaming platform.