Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Plug In Digital
Developer: Red Stage Entertainment
I was genuinely excited to play Skabma – Snowfall. It’s been on my Steam Wishlist for months, so when I saw we were getting a Switch port of the game, I jumped at the chance to review it.
Now that I’ve played the Switch version, however, I’m thinking I probably should have gotten it on Steam. Or PS4/PS5. Really, anywhere other than the Switch, because this port is…not good.
And the reason why Skabma – Snowfall on the Switch isn’t good is that the game barely runs on Nintendo’s system. At the very best of times, the world looks fuzzy and prone to popping in and out of existence around you. It’ll stutter for a moment here and there while the game saves your progress. It’s mostly playable, but it won’t be a very fun experience.
Again, that’s the best-case scenario. When Skabma – Snowfall really gets into a mood, everything just shudders to a halt while you get hit with a loading screen – and not just your standard, between-scenes loading screen, either, but the world in front of you will literally just say “Loading”. It makes it hard to get immersed in a game’s narrative when your character’s path forward is blocked by a giant, floating wall of text.
Mind you, at least the text walls were temporary. Far more annoying were the places where your character ran into invisible walls, and there was no reason why he shouldn’t have been able to move forward. Similarly, the physics in Skabma – Snowfall are fairly inconsistent, and you never could tell whether a jump forward would launch you across a gap, send you plunging downwards into a barely-there hole, or leave you jumping in place because the same simply didn’t want you going in some direction.
This is all deeply unfortunate, because Skabma – Snowfall is a game that it’s hard not to root for. It’s the first-ever game to portray Sámi culture, which means you get a look at a world – that of the Indigenous peoples of Northern Europe, to be precise – that you don’t usually get to see. You’re guiding a young boy named Áilu through a quest to save his village, and along the way you get an education into his culture. It all feels very worthwhile.
The thing is, at least as far as the Switch version goes, you need to dig deep in order to see all that – and honestly, it’s hard to say that it’s worth it, all things considered. I’ve no doubt that Skabma – Snowfall is a very interesting, enjoyable game on systems that can handle it, but unfortunately the Switch isn’t one of those systems.
Plug In Digital provided us with a Skabma – Snowfall Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.