It’s no secret that Snow Horse was conceived as a joke.
Developer KinifiGames has stated so: “This game isn't to be taken seriously. That it exists is a joke in itself.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t a very funny one.
Granted, Snow Horse does have all of the makings of a great comedy - that is, created to be unrealistic and frustrating to a comical effect. A game practically designed for the sole purpose of being streamed on a YouTube channel.
Goat Simulator was such a game. It was silly nonsense, but still found a way to be enjoyable through its enormous variety of gags and hilarious, faulty physics. Surgeon Simulator was a bit of a joke as well - enraging, but still engaging. It managed to hold appeal due to, again, the variety of its scenarios and the wacky physics.
Both were what I consider to be joke games that accomplished what they set out to do. Snow Horse seems to, sort of, intend to join the ranks, but it fails. I simply didn’t have fun, nor did I find it funny enough to justify persevering.
The concept was a good one. I was looking forward to drinking a few beers, and laughing with friends at the hilarity that would no doubt ensue when a horse got a hold of a snowboard to pull off some insane stunts.
Sadly, innovation stopped at the idea.
Your character may be a horse on a snowboard, yet gameplay falls short of living up to its potential. Only 5 tracks to choose from, and one is criminally short. Controls are too few. You jump off ramps, and you turn. That’s about it. There’s a touch of humor, true, in a horse spinning through the air, yet the mechanics direly needed stunts to make the most of it. Arrow keys to rotate in random directions just isn’t enough. Twists and turns do end up scoring you points, so it’s a shame the physics aren’t anymore elaborate.
Failing to correct yourself in order to land results in your horse wiping out and the level restarting. You’d think this is where the game would start to get fun. The wipeouts. Surely a horse wiping out on a snowboard is half the reason we came to the show. But messing up a landing just means the snowboard disappears, and the horse collapses on the ground.
No silly physics. Just a stiff, awkward ending to the horse’s journey.
Considering how simplistic Snow Horse is, I doubt it will keep players’ attention long. There’s no sense of mastery acquired, and little to no reason in attempting a high score.
To save itself, is horse customization.
Dressing up your horse, switching hats and other accessories, is enjoyable. With a more competitive setup, I could envision a bright future where horses in online races would rush past each other in ridiculous outfits, leaving trails of lights behind.
Snow Horse may be a joke, but in its current state, it isn’t funny. I do love the idea of a horse on a snowboard, but a good concept isn’t enough to recommend its purchase. With a larger selection of courses, and improved physics to add a little dynamic action to the game, there’d be hope for all snow horses out there, but priced at $6, there are better options out there for cartoony racers.