If you’ve visited a ski resort in recent years, you’ve probably seen an Absinthe film. Each features daredevil snowboarders who leap out of helicopters before zooming down the slopes while executing snazzy tricks. It’s what the pros do when the tourists are supping hot chocolate and nursing aching thighs in the afternoon.
Thankfully for those unwilling to risk life and limb in the name of being milk, or whatever it is snowboarders say, there’s Stoked.
The goal is to perform tricks and complete challenges across six real-life mountain ranges. Think Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding with snow and you’re nearly there. And for the most part Stoked: Big Air Edition – an update rather than a proper sequel to the 2009 original – is great fun.
It captures the sensation of zipping down slopes to the hiss of shredded snow and the game's use of trigger squeezes and flicks of the right stick make performing moves easy without undermining the challenge of mastering them. There's a huge variety of challenges too, from performing for photographers to trying to beat pro snowboarders' downhill times.
And while there's no multiplayer, the online leaderboards shown after each run provide a great incentive to head back to its virtual slopes to improve your ranking.
But there are niggles. Speed fans will find the runs too short and the game has a frustrating tendency to restart you right in front of obstacles you crash into. And you have to wonder what the developers were on when they added pitch-black nighttime runs to the mix.
Stoked also lets you carry on performing tricks when you reach the bottom of the slope, allowing players to rise up the leaderboard or complete some challenges by repeating simple tricks rather than through snowboarding prowess.
While these issues spoil the overall package, Stoked remains a fine game for those wanting snowboard action.