Skating Sim The Ramp Is The Most Relaxing Sports Game Ever

There was a shack in my hometown near the local skate park that sold a half-sandwich. You could buy two, of course, and get yourself a whole one, but no one ever did. The shack sold a half-sandwich, so that’s what you bought. They never quite filled you up. Playing The Ramp reminds me of these half-sandwiches.

The Ramp is a new indie game from Hyperparadise, affectionately named ‘Tiny Hawk’, because it’s like the Tony Hawk’s series, but tiny. I’m not entirely sure that’s an accurate descriptor, though. Of all the skate sims out there, it’s hard to imagine a game less like The Ramp than Tony Hawk’s. It’s more like Skater XL, which would make it Skater XS, but then no one knows what Skater XL is, so I can understand why ‘Tiny Hawk’ is a more appealing name.

Related: The Ramp Is Satisfying Vert Skateboarding At Its Simplest

Skater XL – and more famously, Skate – both looked at what Tony Hawk’s was doing and opted for a more realistic interpretation of skating. Gone were the arcade physics, the zany objectives, and the extra trimmings. All that was left was wheel on wood. The Ramp takes this simplified approach, with no timer, no objective beyond the in-game achievements, no story, no missions, and nothing to unlock. It does, however, keep the less realistic physics, especially if you can get your timing right. Within ten minutes of play, I had landed a 900 and a 1080, bailing on several more, though all were off the titular ramp. From half-pipe air, a 720 was a cakewalk.

The buttons are simple. You hold A on flat surfaces to gain speed, release it on a ramp or pipe, then hold it while in the air. The left stick allows you to spin (or steer, while on the ground) and the right pulls off tricks. RB lets you grind. That’s pretty much it.

We haven’t really seen a skate sim like this before. They either copy THPS and toss in a load of video gamey objectives to suit the unrealistic airs, or they make it all about the board, man. The Ramp manages to do both, but in doing so, it cuts away half the sandwich.

I’m not sure collecting S-K-A-T-E would make The Ramp better, and with the inability to chain together moves, I don't particularly want a score either. There are (by my count) six grabs you can make, but making multiple in the air will result in only the last one counting. Flip tricks appear to be absent entirely. You’ll find no challenges, even self-imposed, in beating your combos or high scores. You can use the in-game achievements to track which spins you’ve landed, how far you’ve managed to grind, and… well, not much else. The Ramp makes it clear that this is not a game to be beaten, but enjoyed.

That makes judging the game difficult, in many ways. These are not features that are broken or poorly implemented, and neither are they oversights. The developer has deliberately left them out to create a more relaxing skate sim where all you need to do is chill, get big air, and spin. You can’t get mad at the sandwich shack for giving you half a meal when you order a half-sandwich.

The shack was never ripping anybody off. The half-sandwiches were priced fairly, and The Ramp, at £4.79 (or £3.83 during August) is too. The reason the shack served half-sandwiches was because that’s what the skaters wanted. As someone who mainly went to the skate park to use the football cages or the nearby beach, I could have used a full sandwich. I never ordered one – I wasn’t a tourist – but it was a clear sign that the shack was there for skaters first and everyone else second. The Ramp feels the same way.

When I call The Ramp a half-sandwich, it’s not derogatory. I don’t just mean that half the game is missing. It lacks some features I’d expect from a skating sim, but it also comes in at a much lower price point. It’s made very specifically and fulfils its purpose. The half-sandwich was a snack skaters could scarf without worrying they’d barf it up next time they bailed. The shack wasn’t being cheap, it was understanding what skaters needed. The Ramp does the same – it is very deliberately stripped back to make itself as relaxing as possible, while keeping the bigger airs from the less realistic titles.

The Ramp, with its diorama design, lack of objectives, and low price point, feels more like a toy than a video game. Who needs objectives – make your own fun. It’s cheaper than a thumb skateboard and much easier to use. I don’t like to let price influence my rating, but it’s worth stressing again that it’s currently under £4. It’s not quite as cheap as a half-sandwich, but it’s exactly as filling. Don’t worry though – that’s the point.

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