Horatio Goes Snowboarding is an endless, score-based arcade game with obvious nods to Ski Free, the classic Windows game from the early 90s. Mixing one part Frogger, one part snowboarding, and one part rogue elements, this retro throwback has some addicting qualities.
Playing as this chubby gnome guy that I assume in named Horatio, the player starts the game from the bottom of the screen and must work his way to the top where the chopper awaits to take you to the mountain top. Reaching the chopper becomes a literal game of Frogger as players must avoid traffic along the way; taking a hit will lose one precious life. Before you reach the chopper, you must stop at the board rental shop and pay a few bucks to rent a board. Then avoid a few more cars and reach the helicopter. If performed well, this only takes a few seconds.
Once the chopper drops you at the top of the mountain, the player must then navigate the downhill slalom while avoiding hazards. Bonus points are awarded for steering between flags, multiplying along the way. Take damage though and you’ll need to pay a hospital bill. If you didn’t earn enough cash or took too many hits, it is game over to try again. Each track becomes increasing more difficult so it is only a matter of time before you run out of lives.
With each run, the player earns a little bit of currency used to unlock more stuff. Unfortunately, it will take a long time to pay for the unlockable Endless Mode found on the main menu. In fact, by the time you earn enough to unlock this mode, players should be pros and dominate the online leaderboards. The online leaderboards are a great incentive to play another round because with each death, you know you can do better even if the controls are a little slippery.
The simple cartoon presentation aligns with the casual nature of the gameplay. Also, the music in the main menu screen is a slapper and honestly doesn’t need to be that good.
Horatio Goes Snowboarding has a fun but somewhat limited gameplay loop. It would have been cool to unlock more cosmetic changes that adjust stats like speed, defense, or turning, or have more control over the stage design, but what is here is a lower cost, endless snowboarding roguelite that offers a quality distraction.
Also Try: that running-towards-the-screen stage in Mickey Mania (SNES)
Don’t Forget About: the first 3 Crash Bandicoot games on PS1
Wait For It: Snowboard Kids 1 and 2 (N64) to be released on Nintendo Switch Online