Don't be fooled by its cutesy looks and it's inviting menus – Ultimate Ski Racing is as hard as nails.

I'm ashamed to admit that on several of my initial tries at the scores of slope side challenges on offer here, I only just managed to scrape into the top 20.

That might sound half respectable, but when you consider there are only 20 places up for grabs in the first place, suddenly my ineptitude is crystal clear.

Smooth operator

To Ultimate Ski Racing's credit, however, there's something strangely alluring about the whole experience that ensures you don't give up, even when times are hard.

It could well be the simplicity of the approach that's been adopted here.

You view the action top-down, and your input is reduced to just three buttons – '4' to send your skier left, '6' to send him right, and '8' to employ the boost that builds up several times each run.

Rather than tossing in any complicated rules or special moves, the challenge instead comes from being able to react to the course ahead.

Whether taking on the slalom or the giant, most of the runs require you to weave in and out of the flags, passing red posts on the right and blue on the left.

The closer you get to each flag, the more cash you win – cash that can then be used to upgraded your kit. Hitting or passing them on the wrong side adds a second to your race time.

Only in downhill are you allowed to run free, the more direct chase to the 'finish' line serving as a much needed break in proceedings from the other, more intensive, challenges.

Globe trotter

As far as slalom and giant are concerned, however, once the game gets going there's very little to separate one course from another.

That's despite the fact that, in World Cup mode, Ultimate Ski Racing takes you across the globe, from Sweden and Norway to Germany and Italy.

Each run is split into two attempts, with the times recorded handing you a place somewhere in the top 20. With places turned into points, the whole affair plays out like the most competitive league table you've ever come across – not a stage passes without someone moving up, or someone else slipping down.

It's the very similarity of each and every run that enables you to get into a rhythm and stay competitive, however.

Just a third of the way into the game's 30 challenge strong Blank mode the whole thing begins to make sense, with twisting left, right, and back again from one second to the next becoming second nature.

The very fact that Ultimate Ski Racing can deliver what is largely the same experience 30 times over and get away with it is testament to its quality.

Though you'd be hard pushed to tell the tracks in the USA from those in Finland, for instance, the level of competition is so high that you're forever on your toes, forever engaged.

It all leaves Ultimate Ski Racing as the perfect package for mobile: a game that's ideal to slip into when you have a spare five minutes, but one where the challenge never slides as a result.