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The Ramp 1

The Ramp is a Superb No-Frills Skateboarding Game

I’m pretty sure that the creator of The Ramp is Peter Molyneux’s “evil” twin.

Instead of hyping The Ramp to high heaven and woefully underdelivering, creator Paul Schnepf has, if anything, undersold it. It is, according to him, “A digital toy for skateboard loving people.” The thing is, “digital toy” doesn’t begin to cover The Ramp’s excellence.

The Ramp might be a minimalist endeavour, but this is a fully-fledged skateboard game. It’s reminiscent of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on the Gameboy Advance, something I ploughed hour after hour into. There are three skate parks, each surrounded by a blue expanse which, I was happy to discover, is just the floor and not some horrifying otherworld.

Without the push to unlock additional levels, or clothing, or secret characters, The Ramp is simply just about having fun. The controls are pretty elementary, though I seriously recommend using a controller rather than keyboard and mouse; with the former, you can hold A to crouch down, RB to grind and so on.

“Pure flow, no extra fluff,” the store description continues – and while it’ll take you a while to get into the “flow”, you’ll never once resent The Ramp. The bird’s-eye view means you don’t get the full horror of faceplanting, but practice definitely makes perfect.

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And practice, in itself, is a real joy in The Ramp. I couldn’t tell you which moves I successfully pulled off, gambling on how many times I could turn around in mid-air. But seeing the name of each move pop up on screen left me grinning like an idiot, as did finally clearing the third park’s absurdly long leap. Ramp aside, you get to mess about with bowls and half-pipes, terms I know from heart and definitely didn’t have to look up.

Maybe Schnepf labelled his creation a “digital toy” because it’s something you can just pick up and play with, but The Ramp has the potential to be a real time-sink. You slowly learn just how far you can push your luck; the faceplants become less frequent and you go from laughing yourself silly at your failures to feeling the rush of being an expert skater.

If this were a grander game I’d have a grumble about there only being three parks – and there is some small part of me that would happily pay for more levels, beyond its current absurdly low price. But my worry is that expanding on The Ramp would detract from the whole experience; that you’d instead spend time struggling to decide which level of ten to tackle instead of just diving in and loving every minute. I just hope this gets a console release because it deserves to be experienced by a wider audience; in particular, I could see it getting a lot of traction on Nintendo Switch.

Equally enjoyable in small bites or big chunks, you can’t really go wrong with The Ramp. It’s available now on PC via Steam.

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