The Ski Jumping Pro VR Review and Performance Evaluation Using the Vive Pro
We have always picked surfing over skiing simply because we don’t like being cold, and the big waves of the North Shore of Oahu was our first venue choice for nearly a decade. However, skiing is an amazing sport, and we jumped (pun intended) at a chance to review Ski Jumping Pro VR by Yippee Entertainment. We received a reviewer’s copy from the publisher Kalypso Media and played it with the Vive Pro using two video cards, the RTX 2080 Ti and an RX 590 to get a feel for the game’s performance.
Ski Jumping Pro is quite easy to pick up by starting with Quick Jump mode and there are 32 venues to choose from but they must be unlocked in sequence. There are brief training sessions before you jump which explain what you need to do. You can play this game either seated or standing.
You use your VR controllers to launch as though you are pushing off by using ski poles in response to a countdown timer. It takes very precise timing so that you do not launch too early nor too late which will affect your run. As your speed increases on your downhill run, you use your controllers in response to subtle on-screen prompts to maintain your balance. As you continue hurtling down the slope, a timer counts down for that perfect moment for you to jump by holding your controllers up in the air, and then you hold them out in a V-formation somewhat like you would do with your skis to make a good landing. A successful jump depends on maintaining your balance in response to the on-screen prompts – and you will either land a good jump or your avatar will tumble down the icy slope.
Your jumps are graded on takeoff, the jump itself, and the landing to achieve an overall score based on five sets of criteria. You get money for jumping, whether your jumps are successful or not. As you progress through the venues which are recreated from their real-life counterparts, your earnings can be put toward upgrading your equipment or honing your skills by paying for automatic training. We didn’t notice a lot of change between using different equipment, although paying for training made it a bit easier to keep our balance.
If you prefer the career mode which we did not try, you can choose from many international teams to join and can guide your competitive career similar to auto racing sims. There is no multiplayer mode.
Ski Jumping Pro has six setting presets that range from Very Low to Ultra. Steam recommends a GTX 1080 for it’s minimum specs but that seems wrong. We played using a RTX 2080 Ti on Ultra with a lot of performance headroom. However, on Ultra our RX 590 struggled to maintain 45 FPS, reprojecting about half of its frames as shown by the FCAT-VR performance plot with an unconstrained framerate of 46 FPS. Even with continuous reprojection, Ski Jumping Pro is quite playable if you want to experience higher settings.
We would recommend playing on the Medium preset using a VR entry-level card like the RX 590 to stay out of reprojection. We would suggest that High or perhaps Very High settings may be suitable for an RX 590 using the original Vive as the Pro is a more demanding HMD. Steam reports that the game is only qualified for the HTC Vive, but Kalypso Media says the Oculus Quest & Oculus Link will work but are not officially supported.
We encountered a few minor bugs when we could not switch between screens, but exiting the game and then reloading it resolved them. We also progressed though nearly 20 different venues, but had to start over when we relaunched the game a couple of days later.
Ski Jumping Pro shows some really nice attention to detail and its jumping mechanics seem right. Your breath is visibly frosty and the weather changes from venue to venue. The Ultra visuals are decent but they are not exceptional, and High still looks good. Medium starts to lose some textures and Very Low is really quite low. The crowds that cheer you on or sigh in sympathy when you fall is quite thin and they are not rendered with a lot of detail even on Ultra although the background scenery looks nice.
Unfortunately for this reviewer, we never felt really immersed into this game. It did not feel nor capture for us the excitement of actually skiing down from a high slope, and it felt more like we were on a narrow track just responding to visual cues. VR does add to the game, but we ultimately felt left out in the cold. Ski Jumping Pro never felt “real” to us. Although the venues change, it mostly repeats the same thing over and over, and it seems that a player just gets better at responding to the visual cues to progress. The music is rather monotonous and repetitive.
For it’s current selling price of $16.99 until December 13 which is 15% off the regular price of $19.99, we would give Ski Jumping Pro a 6 out of 10. It does some things rather well including giving a player choices as to how to approach their game or career, and it varies the settings. But it doesn’t give this reviewer the thrill of skiing down from a great height, hurtling toward the jump, and then flying through the air while straining to make a landing. Some VR sports gamers might like it if they want to experience a career in ski jumping from their living room. If so, give it a try on Steam.
Happy VR Gaming!