The Ramp Review: A Bite-Sized Gem
The Ramp was perhaps my favorite small-scale experience of 2021, and now it can be the same for 2022 as it releases on the Nintendo Switch. It’s much the same experience it was last year, now on a platform which is perhaps even more perfect for it.
The whole appeal of The Ramp is that it’s not really a video game, or if it is only barely so. It’s more of a digital toy. The creator has been very upfront that there are no scores, no goals, nothing to unlock. The experience here is entirely about capturing a feel, something between the feel of actual skateboarding and the finger decks, so many of us played with as kids. In focusing on the actual experience of skating, for the sake of skating and not as a means to an end, it has something in common with the admittedly very different Session.
Because it is lacking so much of what most skateboarding games have, The Ramp lives and dies on its mechanics. While simple, the game is up to that challenge with a unique pump based system to build momentum. You press a button as you land, again when you hit flat ground, and then again before taking off on the other side of a bowl. Doing this lets you build up the sort of momentum that allows you to eventually pull off crazy spins and grab tricks in mid-air. While there are only eight directionally chosen grabs and the ability to grind, the simplicity of The Ramp allows you to get into a sort of Zen flow that feels incredibly relaxing.
That doesn’t mean players are going to sit there playing this for hours at a time. There are four levels, all set against a blue or yellow void, to enjoy, but that’s about it for the sake of variety. Three of them are variations on a halfpipe or series of bowls, with the last providing a giant ramp to jump off of, allowing you to go for some truly crazy air. While the sense of Zen The Ramp offers can be relaxing, I rarely wanted to spend more than half an hour at a time with it. In truth, it’s probably best enjoyed ten to fifteen minutes at a time, a great distraction for when you have a few minutes to blow.
Perfect For Switch
Which, when you think about it, makes it kind of perfect for the Nintendo Switch. Now instead of only having that brief escape when you’re home, you can get it on the go as well. This is a game with staying power, having managed to stay installed on my computer for over six months as a great way to kill little chunks of time. Now that it’s on Switch, I feel like that won’t be needed there any longer.
The only thing I felt was missing at all in the Switch version of The Ramp are achievements. While they almost go against the entire point of what the game is going for, I’d be lying if I said that going for a 1260 didn’t push me to have more fun in my early days with the game. A few basic challenges to get players started and push them to get comfortable with the game isn’t inherently a bad thing, and I think this makes a better case than most for why Nintendo might want to consider some version of an achievement system going forward.
Despite this, I still recommend The Ramp to almost any player who has interest in it. Its Zen-like simplicity is addicting, and a low price means there’s little room for regret. While you can draw minor comparisons to a wide variety of titles, there’s nothing quite like The Ramp on the market.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: Nintendo Switch(Reviewed), PC; Publisher: Coatsink; Developer: Hyperparadise; Players: 1; Released: March 17th, 2022; ESRB: N/A; $5.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a copy of The Ramp provided by the publisher.