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Snow is for suckers: Play these winter sports games on Android

Evan Dashevsky | Jan. 27, 2014
Despite the sun's stubborn insistence on playing hide-and-seek with the Northern Hemisphere, people still manage to brave the winter temperatures and stay active. As you read this, athletes from around the world are gathering to compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as well as at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

Super Ski Jump
Free (lite version), $1 (full ad-free version)

Ski jumping is about as close as a nonsuicidal human can get to flying without the aid of an airborne vehicle.

While I'm sure that a lot goes into the real sport of ski jumping, the gameplay of Super Ski Jump is quite simple: Watch the balance controls as you go down the ramp, and if you begin to veer off toward one side, compensate by tapping the opposite side of the screen. Then you ace your jump and landing by tapping the screen just as two control bars are about to meet.

The button controls are the default, but I recommend switching to the more intuitive tilt controls in the settings. Additionally, I suggest turning the sound effects off, as every landing is met with the raucous sounds of what is either a chorus of vuvuzelas or a pack of elderly walruses being slaughtered.

The game is limited in scope, so I could see it eventually becoming tiresome — though I have yet to hit that particular wall. Good thing it's free. However, if you find that you indeed have a love for the high-flying sport, check out the for-pay Pro version, which removes the ads and gives you access to tournament, cup, and multiplayer modes.

Ice Rage
Free, $2 (full ad-free version)

Ice Rage is a game that's perfectly adapted for a mobile environment. Not that it comes anywhere close to capturing the true hockey experience, but its simple gameplay molds nicely to a touchscreen interface.

This minimalist take on hockey gives players two control mechanisms: a direction control and a shoot button. If a two-button scheme is too much for you, the game even has a one-button mode that allows you to concentrate on just shooting. Another setting lets you take control of the goalie as well, but don't do that — it gets tricky fast.

Quick tip: It took me a while to figure this out, but if you hold down the shoot button, you will see where your player is aiming before you actually send the puck flying.

You can play against your phone or play against a friend on the same screen (an arrangement that probably would work better on a tablet than on a phone). In either case, the game's oddly intuitive gameplay is fun to learn. Although Ice Rage provides zero insight into the real sport of ice hockey, it takes on a strategy and physics all its own.

iStunt 2
Price: Free, $2 (full ad-free version, purchased in-game)

I don't know whether iStunt 2 matches up to its description as "the most extreme snowboarding game on the Google Play Store," but this winter-themed forever-runner has a fun minimalist approach of its own.


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