“Hmm, not much here, is there?” is what I was thinking as I looked over The Ramp’s main menu of skateboarding levels and options. It is, indeed, quite the limited experience. Admittedly so by the developer Paul Schnepf of Hyperparadise, himself. There are no scores, no missions, no unlocks… It’s “maybe not even a game, but rather a digital toy,” as explained by the Steam page. That said, the game does do what it promises and maybe a little more. It offers a chill, relaxed-flow skating experience and maybe one of the funniest bail/crash mechanics I’ve seen in a skateboard game in a while.
Get your lo-fi skate on
So, yes, The Ramp is a very small skateboarding game (digital toy? Hmm…). In the game, you take on the role of a very non-descript skater and have your way with a few different park levels. There’s your normal half pipe, a swimming pool, a multi-area competition vert set-up, and finally a big jump course. As mentioned before, there are no challenges, no goals, no milestones or tasks (outside of achievements, I suppose). You just skate these levels to the game’s lo-fi soundtrack, busting tricks at your leisure.
The Ramp is pretty relaxing and stress-free. You take a few minutes to learn the controls, which teach you how to use momentum to gain air coming into and out of vert ramps, as well as the basic controls for tricks and grinds. There isn’t a ton of controls to learn. On a gamepad, one stick controls your direction, the other stick determines what grab tricks you do, there’s a jump button, and one of the bumper buttons will allow you to grind.
As the developer themselves say, there isn’t a lot here. The Ramp feels like it’s mostly here to help you relax rather than stress yourself out over big tricks and scores. I will admit, with its lack of goals and lo-fi soundtrack, it does quite the good job of that. Even so, as limited as it is, it might not hold many players for long. It takes a very short amount of time to see everything it has to offer.
One thing I will credit it fully on is the bailing and ragdoll mechanics in this game. When you flub a trick, land wrong, or hit an obstacle, The Ramp’s soundtrack comes to a very distorted slowdown as your skater’s body and board bounce off the terrain and lays there till you start the level again. You can restart play immediately with a button press and get the music and good vibes going again.
Now, I don’t know that this was supposed to provide procedurally generated comedy to The Ramp, but it absolutely does. Maybe it’s the fact that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 completely skipped on actual bailing animations when you mess up, but The Ramp’s use of ragdoll is absolutely hilarious at times. It’s especially funny on the big jump where you catch an enormous amount of air before either sticking a sweet landing or absolutely blowing it in glorious fashion. I really enjoyed you can either restart the level mid-catastrophic crash or just leave your ragdoll sitting there a while to the distortedly slowed beat of the soundtrack. I had about as much fun crashing in countlessly unique ways as I did enjoying the flow of the skate and landing great tricks.
Not much, but not bad either
I’m not going to blast The Ramp too much for how limited it is in its offerings because the developer is pretty straightforward about exactly that. It’s essentially a chill experience without goals or milestones to achieve. You skate to your heart’s content, enjoy the soundtrack, land tricks, crash and burn, and restart to your heart’s content. I enjoyed it for what it is. It’s not something I can imagine anyone putting hours of playtime into. Still, at the very least, if you want to kill some time, stick some tricks, and occasionally absolutely annihilate your poor little skater on some bad landings, The Ramp could be worth a spin at its low price of $6.
This review is based on a PC digital copy distributed by the publisher. The Ramp is available now on PC via Steam as of August 3, 2021.
- Rather relaxing skateboard experience without goals or missions
- Lo-fi soundtrack is super chill
- Ragdoll physics are top notch
- Easy to restart after a bail
- Just $6 USD
- Extremely limited content
- No goals can make it hard to latch onto