Freeware Garden: Super Slalom

Freeware Garden searches the corners of the internet to highlight one free game every day.

It may seem like a relatively easy thing to do, but designing an original puzzle mechanic that is actually engaging and fun is a staggeringly difficult thing to pull off. Even more so when said mechanic has to carry a whole game and fit a theme like, say, skiing, which frankly isn’t everyone’s premiere choice for a puzzler.

Impressively, browser-game Super Slalom does exactly that and is thus absolutely worthy of your time.

It is indeed an original, engaging and fun puzzler in which you’ll get to ski downhill, and only downhill, through forested slopes that seem to have been lifted straight from the Atari 2600 era. As just gently rolling down a hill would be quite the boring endeavor, you’ll also have to avoid trees (always a great idea) and perfectly slalom around blue and red flags. Specifically, you’ll have to pass to the right of red flags and to the left of blue ones and eventually make your way to the finish line without missing a single flag.

Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, initially it is and despite being restricted to moving left, right and down and not being allowed to cross the same space twice, Super Slalom starts gently. It’s only after the gradual introduction of glaciers, ski jumps, water hazards, grindable rails, packs of wolves and more complex levels that things get properly tough and it’s only during the final couple of levels that the teasing of the brain reaches maddening levels.

Happily, pressing z to undo your latest move and r to restart a level are a great help and ensure things never get frustrating, hence allowing the excellent design of the game to shine.

Super Slalom is a clever, taxing, but also fair game. If you take your time to think the level you are playing through, you’ll most probably beat it and pat yourself on the back. And, when you finally finish the whole thing, you’ll wish it could have lasted longer.

7 Comments

  1. YogSo says:

    Nice game. The “last challenge” had me a bit stumped for a while, but after a few tries I found a solution and it felt great. And the ending was very satisfying, I like that the author thought about that; more puzzle games should have that kind of “after all that brain-thinking you can relax now and enjoy the ride” finale.

    Edit: Ah, I forgot to say that I also liked that Z not only undid your last move, but every other before that one as long as you kept clicking. That meant you didn’t had to restart from the beginning of a puzzle if you noticed you only had gone wrong 3, 5 or whatever moves ago, and it kept the typical “trial & error” frustration at bay (could have been a problem with some of the wolves levels otherwise).

  2. SuddenSight says:

    I just finished the game. A very nice set of puzzles, though there is some room to explore these puzzle mechanics further. I suppose that just proves what a well designed puzzle game it is.

    I went back and forth between enjoying the sounds for their low-fi, Atari-ness and hating them for being so grating. Basically, the first time a wolf moved or I slipped on ice and the game played a beep, I thought it was cute. The 100th time was less cute.

    I will also point out that this is game was made in PuzzleScript if anyone wants to make something similar. It’s a very easy language to pick up and works in your browser.

  3. DrollRemark says:

    Lovely. Like mentioned, there was definitely scope for more levels, even just within the few objects that were introduced in the game alone.

  4. BooleanBob says:

    Short and sweet. Very nice touch with the final level too. Hopefully the future has great things in store for Mr. Bruno.

  5. cmdaltgamer says:

    Wow. I’m so glad people seem to like my game and it was a huge surprise to have an article written about my little skiing game on a site like RPS. Feedback like this fills me with confidence for upcoming games, look out for my GBJam game. Thank you

    • SuddenSight says:

      The game is fantastic! Can’t wait to see what you make next.

  6. Noburu says:

    Something about Ski-Free