You can probably tell what kind of game this is by its rather silly name, so I don’t need to spell it out for you. But Snow Moto Racing Freedom is actually a rather unique racing game. You don’t get many racing games that feature snowmobiles as the primary vehicle of use. Sure, you can look back at games like Arctic Thunder and Whiteout, but they were so unbelievably bad that I try to forget that they even exist. While this game isn’t quite as bad as those, there’s still little to be desired here, unfortunately.
Snow Moto Racing Freedom plays and feels very much like an arcade racer, but the handling feels odd. Of course, riding a snowmobile is going to be harder and not nearly as smooth as something like driving a car on a road, but even then it all just feels like you’re never fully in control and for a racing game, that’s not really what you want. Once you get used to the nuances of how the snowmobiles control, you may eventually start to have a bit of fun. It just all comes down to how long it takes you to get to that point because before that it can be infuriating, so it may already be a bit too late. Collisions with the environment can also wield some pretty weird, but hilarious results, as hitting something at a relatively high speed will more than likely cause your racer to catapult into the air like some kind of ragdoll shot from a cannon.
Another disappointment is the framerate as it can be a bit hit-and-miss. One minute the game can feel quite smooth and then the next it can drop below 20fps and it is very, very noticeable. Considering the game will certainly not be pushing the Switch to its max, it’s not really excusable as to why the framerate should go up and down like a yo-yo. For a racing game, the last thing you want is a choppy framerate because it can be quite off-putting and it can affect how well you do. If you couple that with the dodgy controls and you just have a really awkward to play racer.
To give the game some credit where credit is due when you first load the game up you are greeted with a ton of modes to choose from. In a time where we sometimes criticise just how much content games come with nowadays, it is something to applaud.
The main mode, Championship, has three sub-categories and these are Sprint, Snocross and Freedom League. Sprint and Freedom League has you racing across an open snow-filled land, whereas Snocross gives you the more traditional track races that you would see in most other racing games. You are also able to select single events based on these three main modes if you just wanted a single race as opposed to a full championship event. Within the single event section, there is also a Leisure mode, which allows you to roam around an area futilely until you get bored. While that may not take that long, it’s a pretty cool mode they’ve added in regardless.
Then you have the multiplayer components and again, kudos to the developers for going all in as you have split screen, local and online multiplayer all present. I have to say though, I do always worry about online play in games like this because I could rarely find any people to play against so I have to question just how many people are actively playing online. What this does mean though, is that if you have a friend or two that also have the game, you can theoretically play online together very easily.
The amount of modes that Snow Moto Racing Freedom has to offer is great, but the most important thing is the gameplay and it is rather bland with some dubious controls and a big framerate issue. This is a genre of racing games that the Switch doesn’t have yet, it stands alone. So by default, it is the best winter racing game on the system. However, in no way does that mean that if you really love racing games of this ilk, you’re going to enjoy this one, because truth be told, you probably won’t. If you are desperate for a winter sports racing game, then maybe wait a little longer until Steep is released for the Switch.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Bigben Interactive
I own this game and I found the gameplay to be really fun and engaging. The races were often tight and I thoroughly enjoyed the Snocross game mode with high speeds big jumps. I don’t think this review does it justice. It deserves a higher score.