There are plenty of skiing games on iOS, and they all, I am sure, benefit in a quiet way from the fact that skiing is famously the most entertaining of words to look at when it is written down, what with that wacky double I right in the middle, invoking, if you are open to it, the twin tracks you leave in your frosty wake. Sure, all of this is true, but there is only one Skiing Yeti Mountain, and in a selfish way, I am very glad of that. Featherweight's game strikes me as the kind of thing that has probably done rather well for itself, and yet when I settle down on the bus to play it on the way back from work, it still feels like a secret, a rarity, beloved by a lucky few initiates. Join us!
Yes yes yes, the controls are uncommonly simple and precise, allowing the touchscreen to get out of the way, as it were, as your thumb becomes both your tiny skier's centre of gravity and their sense of connection to the snow beneath them. Yes, the structure is lovely, slalom flags giving each short course a kind of tricksy dynamism while the timer converts your swiftness into XP if you can work with sufficient care. These things are what makes Skiing Yeti Mountain a great game about skiing, but the things that make it a truly mesmerising experience that I look forward to every evening lie elsewhere.
Firstly, it's the fact that, as far as I can tell, each individual course forms part of a single unbroken trip down a mountain that seems to just go on forever. This is a tiny detail, and the later game may prove it incorrect, but it feels huge to me at the moment, delivering a welcome feeling of remoteness even as I am wedged in amongst other commuters, and making me believe that I am somewhere strange and lofty and slightly forsaken.
Secondly, there is a kind of story to this game, told, so far, via the strangers and oddballs who occasionally join you between runs to say something cryptic before dashing back into the woods. There is a yeti somewhere - or is there? There is blood on the snow, but does that really mean anything? Sure, there is all the comfort of an unlock shop where you can deck your pixelated little guy out in cheerful threads, but hear the desolate soundtrack with its distant wind, its icy crunch as the ground shifts underneath you. How tall is this mountain again? How far away are we from the normal things of the world?
What I want - and I am sure it is out there - is a message board or a crazy forum where I can get together with other cultists and discuss theories. People like me, who are making this whole thing last. Even though I've put a few hours into Skiing Yeti Mountain, I haven't made much progress, because I like to replay courses and delay the next revelation. I am sure that I am not alone in this. I am sure that I am not alone.