I’ve tried my hand at a few different bridge-building simulators. But as interesting as I find the idea of becoming an amateur architect and making sure vehicles cross ravines safely, I always bounce off them because the logistics and geometry involved eat away my enthusiasm.
When Ski Lifts Go Wrong has changed my disposition to the burgeoning genre. This is likely because every hang up I’ve had in trying to create my own personal Golden Gate Bridge has been assuaged by the seeming simplicity of making sure a gondola reaches its destination without bludgeoning its passenger against a mountainside.
The game has a very gentle learning curve (pun intended!) that teaches you the ins and outs of ski-lift construction – and this easy introduction is essential, as When Ski Lifts Go Wrong is chock full of options and buttons that execute said options. There are touch screen controls, but I found that the controller layout worked best for me – and both are far better than the terrible pointer controls I’ve suffered through in other games of this ilk.
When Ski Lifts Go Wrong makes failure fun, which helps to emphasize the point that you’re supposed to experiment. Sure, my supports crumbled the moment I started the lift, but at least there was a good giggle in watching a hapless polygonal skier plummet to their doom. The game also doesn’t chastise you for going over budget or missing optional goals like nabbing medals dangling in thin air; rather, it incentivizes you to try harder and work smarter to reach these side goals.
Even more fun is the fact that at certain moments, you get to control your resort goers, from snowboarders to snowmobilers, while building ramps and the like. Moving them around is a little finicky, but it’s hard to get too upset at your own bumbling when you hilariously crash someone into oblivion unintentionally (or is that intentionally?). And I really enjoyed the game’s presentation, even if simplistic polygons seem to be practically standard for the construction genre. I live near quite a few slopes myself, so perhaps the views of snow-capped mountains and frosted pines remind me of home a little bit.
While playing When Ski Lifts Go Wrong, I tended to get into the mindset of a resort manager, so I felt personally invested in both the aesthetics and structural design of my creations. It was such a satisfying experience that I often found myself watching the loop of skiers sliding down the hill and riding my rig back up quite a few times before moving on to the next task. Plus, figuring out how to get those damn dangling medals is addictive.
The campaign, as it were, is a fun jaunt and reason alone to play When Ski Lifts Go Wrong, but I kept coming back to the game’s sandbox mode after all was said and done. It’s best played with others, passing the controller around as ideas crop up and you build crazy, ill-advised monstrosities, only to watch vacationers plummet into the snow as soon as you start them up. I played it often with my kids, who help to remind me of the joy of play for play’s sake, and escaping the confines of a progressive game.
In this respect, When Ski Lifts Go Wrong is actually two experiences in one – with both of them being very much worth your time.
When Ski Lifts Go Wrong was developed by HugeCalf Studios and is available on PC and Switch. We reviewed the Switch version.
Disclosure statement: Review code for When Ski Lifts Go Wrong was provided by Plan of Attack. A Most Agreeable Pastime operates as an independent site, and all opinions expressed are those of the author.