The Ramp, the tiny toylike skateboarding sim that Malindy wrote about so beautifully a few months back, may be the most gorgeous game of 2021. Not only does it have a truly stellar commitment to the colour yoke, its patchy concrete and sun-stained woods form shapes that are enduringly lovely to look at. An empty swimming pool here becomes a perfect place for pulling off jumps and grinds, but it's also a sort of inverted Henry Moore sculpture. Add in the perfect sound effects - the grainy spin of wheels, the clack of a board connecting with a hard surface - and you have something truly special.
Now The Ramp has made the move from PC to iOS, and I'm tempted to say this is the most perfect version of the game. The simple controls - two buttons and a slider - means that the game furniture doesn't have to get in the way too much, and there's also something great about playing a game so transfixed by movement on a touchscreen. It's weird that there's no haptic feedback - at least I don't think there is. It's hard to tell because I seem to feel the sounds and the animations through my fingers here. The Ramp casts a spell.
It's dangerous, too - in the very best way. The Ramp's creator was explicit about their project's toylike nature because they didn't want paying customers assuming they were getting Tony Hawk. This is a simple game on the surface - a handful of maps, basic controls. Most runs, for me, last far less than half a minute. But because you can play it in half minute bursts inevitably means that I play it for hours and hours, trying new things out, learning the maps, getting my head around the way the ingenious controls task you with making momentum work in your favour. It's The Ramp, then, but now it will probably make you miss your bus stop. That feels like a fair trade to me.
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