Humans have an inane and somewhat self-destructive drive to fly. We leap out of planes wearing wing suits, construct hulking metal tubes with jet engines, and attach wings to our shoulder blades with wax. Those are some of the more well known examples, but what about the lunatics that try to achieve that avian right of passage using nothing but skis and a bit of gravity? Lets have a look at Ski Jump Giants 13 to see if your iOS device can stick the landing.
The Winter Olympics are a wonderful time for nations to come together, put aside differences, and engage in some good ol' fashioned cheating scandals. It's also a time for people to get enthusiastic about sports they wouldn't normally know existed like the skeleton, the biathlon, and curling. Well, maybe you still wouldn't care about curling. But, one of the more intriguing events is the ski jump. People in skin tight suits trying to glide through the air farther down a mountain than anyone else. This sounds a bit like an adult version of a bunch of kids leaping off a parking lot snow drift.
Anyway, Ski Jump Giants 13 tries to capture all of the aeronautical nuances that go into this frigid flying sport. It is a game about the subtleties and perfection.
You begin each jump by timing your start with the wind direction. You have to closely monitor the crosswinds before pushing off the rail and hurtling down towards certain death or glory. A bouncing slider does the trick for showing you when to push off. The next part is about timing. You need to crouch for the appropriate amount of time at the bottom of the steep slope in order to get the maximum height and distance on liftoff. This is done with a simple touch and release of the screen, but you'll find that nabbing the perfect time is tricky.
Now, each little twitch of the jumper's ski provides a result in the real world outcome, but does a twitch of your wrist effect what happens in Ski Jump Giants 13? Yes, in fact, the game is incredibly responsive and poised when dealing with your input from the gyroscope. I barely came a across a hiccup in the controls while my little avatar was gliding through the air. You don't find yourself overcompensating for movements and the controls are fluid when directing your jumper.
After fidgeting with your jumper through the air, you need to touch the screen one last time to poise yourself for the landing. Like the takeoff, this requires proper timing, but also the perfect angle of approach. Otherwise you'll find yourself skidding down the mountain with two broken legs and snow up your nose. Although it might effect your score a bit, crashing is a lot of fun. I found myself trying different combinations of "mistakes" to see what sort of spectacular folly I could find.
While not a bad looking game, it certainly isn't as incredible as pretty as any of the Modern Combat or Infinity Blade games. The jumpers look as they should and each of the levels depict, somewhat accurately, the more famous ramps from around the world. It's a game that lies somewhere between realistic and uncanny valley.
The one fault I can find with this game is a lack of content. Sure, you compete online for high scores against all the other Ski Jump Giant 13 enthusiasts online, but it would be nice to see a few more game modes. There is a target practice game mode where you earn points by getting as close to the target as you can, but this starts to draw parallels to curling and the snores will soon follow. It would have been nice to see some more absurd game modes like trying to leap busses and hotels like Evel Knievel. It is a game after all, so why not have a little fun with it.
Overall, you might want to skip this one if you don't have a vested interest in unitards and strapping wings to your feet. If you do find ski jumping fascinating, then it is worth the buck entry fee into the most realistic ski jumping game you're liable to find. EA is too busy padding its pockets with more Madden and FIFA games to bother with ski jumping. Maybe when no one cares about football or soccer, you'll get your wish for a triple A ski jump simulator.