Back in the 1980’s when the gaming scene was just building traction, us gamers had the opportunity to join a little character as he went out on some fun little adventures. This was before the time of brand mascots, and it could be said that Horace arrived just a little too early for the mainstream. It was however he who allowed us the chance to begin to understand what was possible in this brave new world. 

Hungry Horace, Horace goes Skiing and Horace and the Spiders were those games and whilst critical acclaim wasn’t quite met, for those growing up with the ZX Spectrum as their format of choice, Horace was a star.

It’s that second game which was the real joy, so much so that it’s now quite obviously the inspiration behind Horatio goes Snowboarding.

horatio goes snowboarding review 4

It’s been a long time since we spent any minutes with Horace goes Skiing but even before we fired up Horatio’s effort, we knew it would be pretty close to the source material. The title is just the first hint.

From the Eastasiasoft and Infinite State Games teams, Horatio goes Snowboarding takes pretty much everything that was present in Horace’s slide down the mountain and ensures it is now a viable option for modern gamers. It’s really very good for a little while too. As long as you can see through the repetition and grind.

Starting off outside the local hotel and hospital – a place you’ll visit more often than you care – your task is to help Horatio navigate over a number of roads, dodging busy lanes of traffic and eventually rocking up at the in door of a helicopter. On the way you’ll need to stop off at the local snowboard shop and pay up for rental of a board. With this in hand, jumping into the whirlybird will see you transported to the upper reaches of a snow-capped mountain, before being left to get to the bottom as safely, and as quickly, as you can.

Control of Horatio is actioned through the left or right thumbstick, via the D-Pad or through pressing the triggers or bumpers, as you shred your way past trees, through gates, around rocks and away from Yetis. It’s just the simple left to right movement that you need to worry about, hoping to get Horatio to the bottom and through the finish line in style. 

horatio goes snowboarding review 1

Do so and you’ll be rewarded with style points, a little bit of cash, and knowledge of exactly what it would have been like to be playing Horace goes Skiing from back in the day.

Upon completion you’ll find Horatio back outside the hotel, board in hand and left to rinse and repeat earlier needs – get to the chopper and hit the slopes again. And for every time you complete a run, the days progress, and your money (and highscores for global leaderboards) rack up. That there is the main goal.

Fail to complete a run and Horatio will need to pay a hospital fee before heading off on his merry way once more. Run out of cash and not be able to afford this and it’s game over; Horatio left to freeze to death on the deadly slopes.

That really is all there is to Horatio goes Snowboarding – navigate the roads, jump in the helicopter and then hit the randomly generated slopes, hoping to make it to the end safely. From there, rinse, repeat and grind until Horatio dies and you find those leaderboard based bragging rights. 

It’s the downhill section which is obviously the biggest draw here and this is a joy to work through. It’s certainly preferable to utilise the bumpers for control, allowing for ease of shred, but navigation of the randomly placed trees and obstacles is a fun one to take in.

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Hitting the various gates is also a challenge, especially as your speed increases and the difficulty raises as days pass. Nail them and a whole new world of combo and point building comes into play. There will be times when you’re genuinely disappointed to drop the multiplier you’ve built up. 

Earn enough points from your accumulated runs and an Endless mode opens up too. What does this do? Well, the name of it is all you need in order to understand that, but Infinite State throw in some snazzy disco lights as your combo builds, creating an altogether tougher experience. 

The problem is, Horatio goes Snowboarding is a massive grind. Whilst we’ve taken in more than a hundred odd runs down the slopes and across the traffic, aside from the additions of the odd other flumpy snowboarder and the requirement to dodge the likes of a Yeti who is chasing you, there’s very little in the form of variety. 

This is absolutely fine in the short term, but after a few hours you’ll probably never want to see another lane of traffic, or want to wander into a snowboard shop again. Or if you do, at least you’ll want to be able to pick your own and not just be given the same one over and over. The fun is only ever found on the slopes, but even that gets fairly tiresome, fairly fast.

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We must say though, Horatio goes Snowboarding looks the biz. Gone are the old, massively limited Spectrum visuals from the ‘80s and instead we have a vibrant world that is full of colour. There’s nothing here that will be troubling award givers in terms of presentation, but it’s a fun little game to look at, no matter whether you’re playing a bit of Frogger in dodging cars, or whipping your way down those mountain sides firmly attached to a slippery board. Oh, and it all helps that there’s a pretty rad soundtrack helping immerse us further.

There’s no debating that Horatio goes Snowboarding is a great little homage to the Horace classic from yesteryear, but there’s just not enough variation to the gameplay to warrant more than a few hours of play at best. The grind that is present is real here too and, in fact, the only thing that’ll keep you going back long-term is the opportunity to pick up some leaderboard bragging rights over your mates. 

Horatio goes Snowboarding is available from the Xbox Store

Back in the 1980's when the gaming scene was just building traction, us gamers had the opportunity to join a little character as he went out on some fun little adventures. This was before the time of brand mascots, and it could be said that Horace arrived just a little too early for the mainstream. It was however he who allowed us the chance to begin to understand what was possible in this brave new world.  Hungry Horace, Horace goes Skiing and Horace and the Spiders were those games and whilst critical acclaim wasn't quite met, for those growing up…

Pros:

  • Fun visuals
  • Banging soundtrack
  • Some nice nostalgia beats
  • Leaderboard chasing

Cons:

  • Pretty grindy
  • Just not enough variation

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Eastasiasoft
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 22 Dec 2021
  • Launch price from - £TBC
TXH Score

3/5

Pros:

  • Fun visuals
  • Banging soundtrack
  • Some nice nostalgia beats
  • Leaderboard chasing

Cons:

  • Pretty grindy
  • Just not enough variation

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Eastasiasoft
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 22 Dec 2021
  • Launch price from - £TBC

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