Some VR titles work incredibly well as a game while others are simply an experience. Sometimes when you try to merge the two, you’ll gain success, while others might gain failure. In the case of Yippee Entertainment’s Ski Jumping Pro VR, it unfortunately falls upon the latter. Attempting to deliver an immersive experience, sadly it’s the gameplay that disrupts the enjoyment of the title.
Ski Jumping Pro VR is exactly what you would expect. You play as a professional ski jumping avatar, entering various competitions across different regions. There is no story or theatrics to it, as it’s simply a game where you compete to be the best. While it’s a simple concept, one shouldn’t expect much more from this, as sports games only recently started making bigger attempts on stories. We wouldn’t exactly classify skiing as a sport with a high demand for a story.
Players will enter the Career mode, where they’ll compete for medals, money and stars. This will take them to multiple venues around the world, beautifully capturing the different countries. Unfortunately, these venues, while aesthetically different, will fundamentally feel the same. They’ll all be a single slope that you’ll jump off of for a few moments, and then potentially again. After that, you load the next country, rinse and repeat.
Money earned from competitions can be spent on better gear, customizing helmets, outfits, gloves, boots, and skis. This gear will give better stats in different areas, improving performance for your jumps. While this adds a little bit more incentive to play, the problem comes from the actual gameplay. Depending on how you play, whether it be motion controls or a gamepad, the game simply isn’t consistent. I spent all my time fighting the controls, even in the tutorial, to make even a decent jump.
Ski Jumping Pro VR essentially has five phases in the gameplay. There’s the push off, the balancing act down the slope, the jump, balancing again in the air, and finally the landing. While the idea sounds simple enough, the execution is very involving and far too frustrating to deal with. First of all, the push off has to happen after a ten second countdown. If you’re even a fraction of a second early or late, you get a penalty to your score. After that is the balancing, which is inconsistent and has you fighting the wind and the game at the same time. The jump itself is actually the easiest part, where I could consistently get excellent jumps using both control options.
The biggest problem here lies in the landing. I’ve done dozens of jumps, and my landings fail almost every single time. I’m either unbalanced (due to the very fast balancing moment in the air), or I land too late or early. This is pretty much the most important part of the jump, as failing here gives you a very low score. I started on the top and quickly fell to 50th place during career mode because the landing was just too hard to nail. When I would manage to get it, I would feel accomplished, but it would also feel like a fluke. It seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t make this a consistent action, and it ultimately frustrated me to give up during my career.
It’s really unfortunate, because the presentation in the visuals and audio are actually pretty spectacular. The graphics are pretty much all I would need to immerse myself into a professional skiing competition, especially on PC. The wind and slush sounds work perfectly with headphones and overall, I couldn’t complain about this aspect. If only the gameplay were accessible, I might have actually enjoyed this title. Even looking at the PlayStation trophies for this game indicates how difficult it is. Every single trophy has 12% or less players obtaining them, suggesting that only a few people could do so out of sheer tenacity and willpower.
If the controls could be adjusted to be more forgiving with the timing, Ski Jumping Pro VR would be exactly what it needs to be. Unfortunately, given the circumstances, you may be better off forgetting the controls and simply watch a VR ski jump video. This game could’ve made for an excellent experience, but unfortunately, it’s simply too difficult to recommend as it is.
Final Score: 4 out of 10
This review is part of our new VR Reviews feature, where we feature new and old VR titles every Thursday. Look forward to more VR Reviews in the future if you’re looking for more games to play on your VR headset.