Just Ski is a physics-based game reminiscent of Line Runner with a steep, but rewarding, learning curve that makes it as satisfying as it is frustrating to play.

Late to the Game: Just Ski Finds the Groove Between Satisfying and Frustrating

Just Ski is a physics-based game reminiscent of Line Runner with a steep, but rewarding, learning curve that makes it as satisfying as it is frustrating to play.

Editor’s Note: This review is part of our “Late to the Game” series, which highlights and examines games we initially missed.

Recommended Videos

Just Ski is a physics game reminiscent of Line Runner, and it’s deceptive in its simplicity.

You control a cross-country skier on their mission to reach their cabin by pulling down on the mouse to make them crouch and go faster, and by pushing up to make them jump. Once in the air, rotation speed is determined by adjusting the mouse up or down to stick the landing.

It’s difficult to get a handle on at first, but once you find that groove, it’s an incredibly satisfying game to play. There is a certain silly feeling of reward and accomplishment that comes with sticking the perfect landing on a particularly difficult jump or stretch of terrain.

With the only input being the mouse, Just Ski would be ideal for those with limited mobility or fine motor skill issues. However, the game’s physics can make it very frustrating for anyone with delayed reaction times or problems processing visual input.

Although the landscape in Just Ski stays the same with each run, and the game feels very much like a puzzle that becomes easier to put together the longer it is played, it also relies heavily on trial and error.

Each new section and hill can trip you up as you try to get a feel for perfectly-timed jumps and aerial rotations. As a game that utilizes building and maintaining rhythm and momentum as part of the experience, there’s a certain amount of frustration that comes with breaking that.

While playing, I was briefly reminded of the rage game craze, circa 2010 or so, but only briefly. JS‘ learning curve is steep, yes, but not so much so that it renders the game nearly unplayable or at all not enjoyable.

Yes, you will die a lot learning to navigate the landscape, but deaths never feel cheap or as if the game is purposely hindering progress. Every mistake is set up as an opportunity to learn and improve technique, allowing players to progress just a little bit more with each run-through.

To help track progress, the sky changes color: starting out black and moving through the color spectrum from warm reds and oranges to cool greens and familiar sky blues.

It’s an interesting mechanic that gives a greater feeling of satisfaction when death inevitably comes. However, I wish that there were actual checkpoints to help mark progress, or even a practice mode to help you master difficult sections. It’s exceptionally tedious to reach a new color, only to have to start from the very beginning when you make a mistake and die.

All in all, Just Ski is a fairly solid physics game. It’s great for training reaction times, it presents just-challenging-enough game play, and it’s a fun way to spend an hour or so.

Though I wish it had something like the yeti from Ski Free to lend a little humor, up the stakes, and to break the monotony.

Pros:

Simple, one-button input

Interesting progression visuals

Great mechanics

Cons:

Steep learning curve

No checkpoints

[Note: A copy of Just Ski was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.]

7
Late to the Game: Just Ski Finds the Groove Between Satisfying and Frustrating
Just Ski is a physics-based game reminiscent of Line Runner with a steep, but rewarding, learning curve that makes it as satisfying as it is frustrating to play.

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Survival: Fountain of Youth Review — A Fun Twist on History
Rating: 8
Beach of island of hope with fishing spot in survival fountain of youth
Read Article Fabledom Review: A Whimsically Relaxing Game With a Romance Twist
Rating: 9
Dragon flies over a small town in Fabledom
Read Article Little Kitty, Big City Review: A Whisker Shy of Perfect
Rating: 9
Kitty's owner gives them a collar in Little Kitty, Big City
Read Article V Rising 1.0 Review: A Bloody Good Survival Game
Rating: 9
V Rising logo during opening cinematic.
Read Article Indika Review: A Unique Story for the Right Type of Gamer
Rating: 6
Indika
Related Content
Read Article Survival: Fountain of Youth Review — A Fun Twist on History
Rating: 8
Beach of island of hope with fishing spot in survival fountain of youth
Read Article Fabledom Review: A Whimsically Relaxing Game With a Romance Twist
Rating: 9
Dragon flies over a small town in Fabledom
Read Article Little Kitty, Big City Review: A Whisker Shy of Perfect
Rating: 9
Kitty's owner gives them a collar in Little Kitty, Big City
Read Article V Rising 1.0 Review: A Bloody Good Survival Game
Rating: 9
V Rising logo during opening cinematic.
Read Article Indika Review: A Unique Story for the Right Type of Gamer
Rating: 6
Indika
Author
Taylor Clemons-Ogan
Taylor Clemons-Ogan runs the website and Twitch channel for Steam Shovelers: a site that boosts the voices of marginalized creators in the games industry. Her work has also been featured on IndieHangover.