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When Ski Lifts Go Wrong review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Hugecalf Studios
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

At the risk of perhaps overthinking things, I’m struck by how much When Ski Lifts Go Wrong reminds of the concept of first-mover advantage.

See, it also reminds me of Bridge Constructor. It has a similar formula, after all: you’re building structures to help people get from point A to point B. No matter that Bridge Constructor was about roads, whereas When Ski Lifts Go Wrong is about moving skiers (or snowboarders, or cyclists) up mountains. The genera; principle is still the same so the games inhabit roughly the same space.

The thing is, because Bridge Constructor got there first (at least as far as I know — I’m sure there are other bridge-building games I’m just not aware of), I can’t help but feel as though When Ski Lifts Go Wrong is just an imitator. This is in spite of the fact that my one quibble with Bridge Constructor was that it didn’t go on in on the death and destruction and havoc it was wreaking, and When Ski Lifts Go Wrong embraces that impulse by smearing the blood of innocent skiers/cyclists/snowboarders all over the mountain every time one of your ski lifts, er, goes wrong.

Mind you, that’s not the only reason When Ski Lifts Go Wrong feels like a slightly inferior game. It’s much too complex for its own good. Whereas Bridge Constructor kept things simple — you had steel, you had wood, and you had wires — here the game works in ramps and towers and medals and all kinds of extra things that make the game feel more complex than it needs to be. On top of that, it occasionally diverges into physics-based sports, as you have to control your skiers and snowboarders and whatnot and help them reach the end of each level. It feels like, rather than picking one thing and doing it really well, When Ski Lifts Go Wrong wants to be much more than that, and it dilutes itself in the process.

Mind you, that may just be the power of Bridge Constructor having the first-mover advantage: it popularized the genre, so it established the genre’s terms. When Ski Lifts Go Wrong fits just outside those parameters, so it seems a little bit off. If it existed in a world where Bridge Constructor didn’t, it might seem much more fresh and interesting.

Unfortunately for When Ski Lifts Go Wrong, however, it exists in this world, where Bridge Constructor is a thing and this game just feels like a so-so imitator. Given that Bridge Constructor is between half a decade and a decade old (depending on where you first played it), there’s still room for a so-so imitator, but be aware of the fact that much of the time when you’re playing When Ski Lifts Go Wrong, you’ll be kind of wishing you were playing something else instead.

Curve Digital provided us with a When Ski Lifts Go Wrong Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-