Recommended Winter Sports Games
- Snowboard Madness
- Big Snow Tricks
- Snow Riders
- Avalanche Stunts
- Downhill Snowboarding 3
- Ice Racing 3D Car
Put Your Skis Away
Skiing may be fine for some, but among my circle of friends it has somewhat of a stigma attached to it: it’s a little rich-boy’s pastime and nothing more. This may be a little bit of a harsh perspective on it, but save for the professionals at the top of their field, winter sports like these require people to spend significant quantity of money to travel to somewhere with the appropriate weather for these activities, not to mention the costly chalets and the inventory of equipment needed. For some reason, snowboarding hasn’t quite got the same reputation as skiing, becoming and remaining to this day one of the most desirable and let’s be honest, the coolest winter sport you can possibly engage in. If you don’t have the equipment, the time, the money, or simply the energy to expend on actual snowboarding however, you may find that Downhill Snowboarding 3 is just the substitute to quash that winter-sports craving.
Off the Rails
Unlike real-life snowboarding, Downhill Snowboarding 3 is a relatively hassle-free experience. All you need to enjoy the fun is a computer and a set of hands (two are preferable but one could get the job done). Much like with its predecessor and also the original Downhill Snowboarding, you use the mouse to drop your snowboarder on a certain section of a gigantic snow-covered mountain, directional arrows to balance your snowboarder (the Up arrow makes him jump) as he makes his way down the slopes, and the A, S, Z, and X keys to make him do various tricks whilst in the air. It isn’t just snowboarding for the thrill of it however: you collect points along the way by performing strings of tricks whilst in mid-air, or rail slides on the conveniently-placed rails littering the mountain.
Tricks with Physics
Downhill Snowboard 3 is different to standard downhill-style games in that you don’t simply hurtle down the slopes with great speed and miraculously stable balance: you have the in-game physics to consider as well. In fact, you may find some of your runs are a little slow since you have to spend a bit of time getting used to balancing your snowboarder to ensure that he lands correctly and doesn’t stack a trick completely. The whole thing initially feels a little slower than you would expect from a game with the word ‘downhill’ in the title, but it is the careful balancing, the timing of your tricks, and the satisfaction of a perfectly-balanced run that should win you over in the end.
The very physics you must battle against to keep yourself balanced also allow you to perform some tricks in mid-air. You can perform an Indy or a Method with the Z and X keys respectively; A lets you perform a tail-grab and S gives you a nose-grab. You can perform the tricks individually of course, but stringing them together is where the real money is, and by money, I mean points. If you manage to get a rail slide in here and there, this will only mean larger numbers for you at the end of the run where you get to enter your name and publish your total on a score board. It’s a shame there aren’t enough tricks of such impressiveness that they could be mentioned on any of the Snowboarder Mag pages, but they succeed in enhancing the experience and improving upon the previous games of the series.
It’s Not All Snow and Nose-grabs
While the game is vastly improved in comparison to its predecessors, it still feels like it is a fairly limited approach to what could potentially be an extremely fruitful and in-depth experience if developers Karolina Games wished to invest more time in the series. The game basically comes down to launching from a mountaintop, performing a few tricks along the way and receiving a score at the end. In its defence, it does give you the ability to unlock different snowboarders with increasingly impressive stats such as quicker rotation and better speed.
Perhaps the biggest drawback is the physics engine itself since the movement feels sluggish and gives the impression of a delay between pressing a button and the resulting action being implemented on the screen. Whatever flaws the game has, they aren’t present in the music: you’ve got a soaring guitar melody to ride the slopes to and it couldn’t be a more appropriate tune if it tried. The graphics are vastly improved from its predecessors as well; everything looks much more pleasing, the edges more rounded, and the whole thing more polished than ever before. Though it doesn’t have as much depth or player progression as it probably should, Downhill Snowboarding 3 is still one of the best physics-based snowboarding games out there.