Earlier this week we pointed to a video preview of Namco's then-upcoming Alpine Racer [App Store], a downhill ski / snowboard title that was described as "SSX-like." Since then the game has appeared in the App Store and, as a particular fan of SSX across several living room and mobile consoles, I must say that "SSX-like", Alpine Racer is not.

Oh, it's not the worst ski / snowboard title I've encountered.  In fact, it's likely the best such title in the App Store.  But I've played better ski / snowboard games on the (original) Playstation and Nintendo 64...and those are 14 year old consoles.

Alpine Racer brings the familiar (for such titles) Story Mode and Time Attack play modes.  The game's options screen allows the player to choose between touch and tilt controls, both of which allow easy control of the onscreen character.  Gameplay involves racing solo, racing an opponent, or racing a "ghost" to the finish line.

The problem with Alpine Racer is that if feels like the port of a pre-existing mobile handset title that it is.  The game's low polygon count combined with its low texture quality makes for a rather unimpressive downhill outing.  Not to mention the framerate issues (at least on the iPhone 3G, though the Namco 2G iPod touch video shows, unsurprisingly, smoother gameplay).  It just doesn't "flow."

Hardcore fans of the genre may find appeal in Alpine Racer given the lack of other quality downhill options in the App Store, but any other sort of gamer will likely find the game rather lacking. You can try the game out for yourself with the limited (one race) Lite version [App Store]

See Namco's gameplay video for a closer look.

App Store Link: Alpine Racer Lite, Free, Alpine Racer, $5.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • ReDStaR

    I thought it was ok.

    Overpriced but ok.

  • ReDStaR

    I thought it was ok.

    Overpriced but ok.

  • ReDStaR

    I thought it was ok.

    Overpriced but ok.

  • http://iphone-game-reviews.com Vicky @ iPhone Game Reviews

    I could do any time with bad graphics. What really pisses me off is the bad controls.

    The 'tilt more to turn more' concept turns out to be very uncomfortable. I hate the touch controls, and the accelerometer controls is totally unresponsive.

    I haven't played any other skiing game much to compare, but Alpine Racer is definitely a no-no.

  • http://iphone-game-reviews.com Vicky @ iPhone Game Reviews

    I could do any time with bad graphics. What really pisses me off is the bad controls.

    The 'tilt more to turn more' concept turns out to be very uncomfortable. I hate the touch controls, and the accelerometer controls is totally unresponsive.

    I haven't played any other skiing game much to compare, but Alpine Racer is definitely a no-no.

  • http://iphone-game-reviews.com Vicky @ iPhone Game Reviews

    I could do any time with bad graphics. What really pisses me off is the bad controls.

    The 'tilt more to turn more' concept turns out to be very uncomfortable. I hate the touch controls, and the accelerometer controls is totally unresponsive.

    I haven't played any other skiing game much to compare, but Alpine Racer is definitely a no-no.

  • TKO

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who was thinking PS1 with regard to the textures and graphics. I'm usually forgiving on such things, being a dyed-in-the-wool retrogamer ..but this just felt .. lacking. (maybe it was the lack of effects too .. I want some powder .. snow, that is.)

    hehe .. I was thinking the opposite to Vicky: I found the touch controls entirely unresponsive, so I switched to tilt ..but then found I was tilting too much to see very well. Then I gave up.

    Glad I didn't buy it. (which I was almost gonna do.)

  • TKO

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who was thinking PS1 with regard to the textures and graphics. I'm usually forgiving on such things, being a dyed-in-the-wool retrogamer ..but this just felt .. lacking. (maybe it was the lack of effects too .. I want some powder .. snow, that is.)

    hehe .. I was thinking the opposite to Vicky: I found the touch controls entirely unresponsive, so I switched to tilt ..but then found I was tilting too much to see very well. Then I gave up.

    Glad I didn't buy it. (which I was almost gonna do.)

  • TKO

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who was thinking PS1 with regard to the textures and graphics. I'm usually forgiving on such things, being a dyed-in-the-wool retrogamer ..but this just felt .. lacking. (maybe it was the lack of effects too .. I want some powder .. snow, that is.)

    hehe .. I was thinking the opposite to Vicky: I found the touch controls entirely unresponsive, so I switched to tilt ..but then found I was tilting too much to see very well. Then I gave up.

    Glad I didn't buy it. (which I was almost gonna do.)

  • xVariable

    Tried it. It's shite. Next!...

  • xVariable

    Tried it. It's shite. Next!...

  • xVariable

    Tried it. It's shite. Next!...

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I find the controls to be fine, personally, but overall movement down the slope feels "stiff" rather than smoothly flowing, as far as winding this way and that. Also the various different movements the onscreen skier goes through are too mildly done (jump, lean / tuck, etc.)

    1080 on the N64, for instance, is dramatically superior. Disappointing, as SSX on the PSP is amazing.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I find the controls to be fine, personally, but overall movement down the slope feels "stiff" rather than smoothly flowing, as far as winding this way and that. Also the various different movements the onscreen skier goes through are too mildly done (jump, lean / tuck, etc.)

    1080 on the N64, for instance, is dramatically superior. Disappointing, as SSX on the PSP is amazing.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    I find the controls to be fine, personally, but overall movement down the slope feels "stiff" rather than smoothly flowing, as far as winding this way and that. Also the various different movements the onscreen skier goes through are too mildly done (jump, lean / tuck, etc.)

    1080 on the N64, for instance, is dramatically superior. Disappointing, as SSX on the PSP is amazing.

  • invalidname

    Wasn't "Alpine Racer" a rather shallow mid-90's arcade game that you controlled with your feet, as if skiing? Just one trip down the hill, without much strategy other than "don't crash"? With such a simple and dated starting point, it's no wonder the iPhone version might be uninspired.

  • invalidname

    Wasn't "Alpine Racer" a rather shallow mid-90's arcade game that you controlled with your feet, as if skiing? Just one trip down the hill, without much strategy other than "don't crash"? With such a simple and dated starting point, it's no wonder the iPhone version might be uninspired.

  • invalidname

    Wasn't "Alpine Racer" a rather shallow mid-90's arcade game that you controlled with your feet, as if skiing? Just one trip down the hill, without much strategy other than "don't crash"? With such a simple and dated starting point, it's no wonder the iPhone version might be uninspired.