No Scores. Just Vibes.
Some of the best games come down to a few simple mechanics. A lot of times, all that sets a great shooter apart from a mediocre one is the feel of mowing enemies down. Tons of games tried to play in the same space as Rocket League before it took the world by storm, but it just feels right. The Ramp takes this concept to an extreme and comes out on the other side with a killer bite-sized experience.
No unlockable stuff. No score. Not even any missions. The Ramp is upfront about what it is. Describing it more as a virtual toy than a game, the developer wants players to know what they’re getting. A virtual skate ramp that combines something like the classic 720 with a more modern sensibility. It almost feels like the virtual version of a finger board.
What Is There Then?
What you do have are four stages set against a blank blue void to skate in. At first, I thought that void was water, but you can land on it. So I guess it’s nothing, which works with the game’s minimalist aesthetic. These stages include a standard half pipe, a pool, two connected bowls, and the mega ramp, which gives you two huge ramps to launch yourself from as you try to get the height to pull off the most impressive spins you can. You can change the style of the skater you take into these ramps slightly, but that’s it for customization.
Simple Mechanics Done Right
The gameplay here is driven by a pump system that tries to replicate the real flow of half-pipe skateboarding. You’ll pump as you land, again when you hit flat ground, and then again before your takeoff. Doing so allows you to build the sort of speed needed to pull off huge spins. I almost jumped out of my seat the first time I pulled off a 1420 on it.
A wide variety of tricks are mapped to the right analog stick as you play, giving you eight different options for spin tricks. You can also boardslide the lip of these ramps, building as much speed as possible and seeing how far you can go. That’s the extent of the trick system, though, outside of spinning while you trick. This isn’t a deep game, it’s all about creating a sense of flow. You won’t want to put hours at a time into it, but it makes a fantastic fifteen-minute bite just to relax with a few times a week. Chill background music helps set that mood wonderfully.
Need A Challenge?
If you’re looking for anything to challenge yourself against, Steam Achievements do push you to hit specific spins and grind lengths. There aren’t a lot of them, but they should push you toward understanding the game. I’m still trying to nail a 1080 outside of the mega ramp, but I plan to get there.
There’s also a hardcore mode that turns off some of the game’s assistance with righting yourself. It also makes the game much less forgiving regarding the angle you land at. If you enable it, prepare for a lot of crashes. You might want to do that even in the normal mode, but even after getting the feel for the game, I still struggled to stay upright with hardcore mode on. I never minded crashing, though. The Ramp pops you back on your board so fast that it never really felt like an issue. I might sometimes be annoyed that I didn’t miss my trick, but only seconds later, I was back to working toward it.
I almost never talk about price in reviews. Price is temporary and likely to change over time, after all. The quality of the game is what I’m concerned with. I’ll try to let you know how long a game will take so you can make a personal value judgment. Ultimately though, what I need out of a price point may be different from what you do. I just want to let you know if the game is worth your time at all, regardless of how much it costs.
The Ramp makes price relevant, though. There’s so little to do. Your entire enjoyment comes down to whether you vibe with the game’s flow and pump system. One mechanic has been pushed to its limits to give you a unique experience. Releasing at only $5.99, though, the developer is asking for a small investment to find out if The Ramp is for you. There’s even a launch discount bringing the cost down to $4.79. If it cost much more, it would be harder to recommend. Yet at this price, it’s hard not to do so if it looks interesting to you. If it clicks for you, then you’ll likely get a lot more out of it than you do with many full-priced titles. I’ve already lost hours to The Ramp, and I think a lot of players will find this chill toy of a game is just what they’re looking for.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: PC (Reviewed); Publisher: Hyperparadise; Developer: Hyperparadise; Players: 1; Released: August 3rd, 2021; ESRB: N/A MSRP: $5.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of The Ramp provided by the publisher.