These are very simple shareware games. You basically have to make it to the bottom of the course without hitting anything. The shareware nature of these is apparent right from the start. The title screen from Ski King 1 screams “Homemade” about as loud as any game I’ve ever played.
There are some ludicrous digitised voice samples (another staple of 90’s homebrew games) which are amusing until the novelty wears off. The first game is incredibly sensitive to PC speed and probably only goes at the right speed on the developers PC. Scrolling is character based and fairly jerky. Ski King is not that badly done for what it is but I remember similar type in games on a Commodore PET that played better than this about 15 years earlier.
The sequel is more polished with some proper scrolling, better graphics and a greater variety of stuff to run into. It’s essentially the same game outside of the presentation. These might be worth a quick look but I got bored with both of them pretty quick. No way I’m going to try to finish all 50 courses, that’s for sure.
I love these kinds of wonky freeware/shareware games made in somebody’s basement. They just ooze charm, and you can tell somebody put love into them. (Even if in number one it looks like you’re skiing over sand!)
One thing I noticed in Ski King 2 is the controls are surprisingly intuitive. They feel a bit heavy, but I just thought something as simple as having the down button pull you back to dead centre, regardless of if you were currently facing left or right, worked really well.
In Ski or Die there’s a downhill minigame with very similar controls, except you only have left and right (or clockwise and anti-clockwise). That game I found alomst impossible to control, but Ski King 2 is just completely fluid and natural.
Just played Ski King 2 and after reading your reviews I was expecting very little, so actually I was pleasantly surprised haha. It’s not a great game by any means, but I still had some fun skiing down the endless hill. It’s very much like Ski Free, isn’t it.