I am a child of the ’80s, and two of the most popular things back then (at least in my little world) were the Nintendo Entertainment System and skateboarding. Combine the two and you have the Skate or Die! series from Electronic Arts. I was never a huge fan of the first game, but Skate or Die 2 was my JAM. Fans will remember the “Double Trouble" vert ramp that was at the center of the storyline in the game, but could also be accessed and played at any time straight from the title screen. If you know what I’m talking about and have ever wished that someone would make a standalone game based around similar mechanics from the Double Trouble ramp in Skate or Die 2, well, say hello to The Ramp from developer Hyperparadise and Crescent Moon Games.
The basic concept of the vert skating in Skate or Die 2 was to hit a button to “pump" into and out of the transitions in the ramp in order to build up your speed, thus allowing you to launch higher into the air and have more time to spin and/or hold your grab tricks longer. That principle is alive and well in The Ramp. The tutorial will attempt to teach you how to hold down on the screen to pump and then let go through the transitions. It is certainly tricky to wrap your head around at first, but once the rhythm clicks it becomes like second nature, and you’ll just instinctively be holding down the screen at the correct times all the time without even thinking about it.
Which is nice because once you get over that initial learning curve, The Ramp is all about just flowing and doing tricks. There’s no score system, or goals to speak of, or really any other purpose than to cruise around and pull off tricks. The aforementioned pumping system is how you gain speed and big air, and a simple slider on the left of the screen controls your rotations while the right virtual stick and be pushed in any direction to perform a number of moves. There’s also a dedicated grind button to perform grinds, slides, and stalls on the coping. There are no flip tricks, and as far as I can tell you can’t combine grab tricks and coping tricks. This is a purposely stripped down experience, so if you’re looking for an all-encompassing simulation game you’ll have to look elsewhere.
For what The Ramp is trying to do though it succeeds wonderfully. Like I said, eventually the mechanics all become second nature and the game is more or less about zoning out and pulling off cool tricks. The game is free to download and try and comes with a basic half-pipe to check out, but a one-time $2.99 IAP will unlock 3 additional levels: A classic pool, a dual bowl skatepark, and a Mega Ramp-style launcher. The initial half-pipe is a nice learning ramp, but the real fun comes in the other levels, especially the pool and bowls where you can carve around and really build up some crazy speed. It’s all just fun and super chill, which is exactly as advertised. So if that sort of thing intrigues you, and you’re willing to stick with it a bit in the early goings to wrap your head around the skating mechanics, you’ll definitely want to give The Ramp a shot.