Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Ski Safari ($0.99 Universal) is all about mountain slopes, ski lodges, penguins, reindeer, yeti and of course snow. Lots and lots of snow. The type of powdery snow you like to have under you to help you ski better, and a crushing amount of avalanching, icy snow at your back to motivate you to ski much, much faster.
The touch controls in this downward sloping continuous side-scroller are easy to learn. You just tap and hold the screen. Tap to jump into the air, then hold to flip. No forward, no breaks, and no turns: just get down the slope as fast as you can go. When you successfully land your flips, you increase speed and earn more points. The more flips you do in the air with each jump, the higher your score will be. When you do end up falling off your skis, landing face first in the snow, you can frantically keep tapping the screen multiple times to pick yourself up a little faster. Anything you can do to stay on your skis and well ahead of the avalanche is a good thing. Because as soon as the avalanche catches up with you, the game is over.
To create greater distance between you and the front edge of the avalanche, you can catch a ride on the backs of a veritable safari’s worth of different animals. These animals are also trying outrun the avalanche. While riding on the backs of these animals, you can guide them to perform flips as well. Performing flips and riding animals is just the inspiration needed for coming up with increasingly difficult challenges throughout the game. For instance, one challenge may be to perform a triple backflip on the back of a penguin. Another such challenge may be to catch a ride on the back of that same penguin while already airborne. The different combinations seem endless as more animals and obstacles are introduces with each level.
While riding on the backs of these animals you will pass ski lodges. Each lodge could contain a snow mobile for you to ride down the mountainside. If you happen to be riding an animal when you find one, they will join you as passengers on the snow mobile. As you speed down the slopes riding souped-up snowmobiles and sleds, you will inevitably pick up more animals along the way. The more passengers you pick up, the more challenges you can complete to earn points. With each obstruction in your path that you hit, you lose the last item you picked up until you end up back on your skis.
Each of the five different worlds you have to choose from are unlocked by either spending the coins you collect in the game, or by leveling up. Your character will level up by completing the various challenges presented to you. Also for purchase with your gold coins are faster snowmobiles, jetpacks, rocketships and various other boosters that you can use to ski faster down the mountain slope and keep a greater distance between you and the avalanche. Some of the performance-enhancing boosters are good for a certain number of uses, while others more permanently enhance your skiing abilities.
There are in-app purchases where you can spend real money to purchase a stash of coins rather than earn them by playing the game. The most sporting of these in-app purchases is the coin doubler. This accelerates your ability to earn more coins within the game. Just in time for the holiday season, the North Pole is available as one of the slopes you can unlock within the game using your gold coins. You can even ride in Santa’s sleigh to escape the avalanche. As you will learn, there is certainly plenty of snow to ensure that wherever you are, you will have a very white weekend this holiday season.