Game Reviews

Little Red Sled

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Little Red Sled

Spring is coming. While it may not seem like warmer days are ahead given the most recent blast of icy weather, winter is on its way out the door.

Little Red Sled, however, insists on holding on to the last few moments of winter. As will the snow-covered slopes down which it slides, this adorable racer melts away to reveal bare ground.

Across 13 obstacle-ridden levels, Little Red Sled has you tilting your handset to guide a snowbound racer. Each course highlights an objective ranging from collecting presents on the slopes, finishing within a time limit, or scoring a certain number of points.

Later levels also introduce rabbit obstacles that you either need to whack or avoid.

Picking up presents gives you a points bonus, but you can also gain points by performing tricks. After launching from a ramp, shaking your handset lets you execute a trick. Points and a speed boost are awarded for nailing tricks.

Attempting a bunch of tricks during a timed run is particularly useful since you can gain extra speed by landing a string of tricks.

The first few levels introduce you to these mechanics, but the game quickly ploughs into more difficult territory. What follows are three pairs of levels: two are tricky blue ones, while the remaining four are near-impossible black levels.

From a pleasant slide through a winter wonderland, the game turns into a bumpy, uncomfortable ride through treacherous territory. Advanced black levels, for instance, demand high scores that make a run down the slopes anything but fun.

Each level maintains a single objective, which ensures no incentive for replay of finished levels and frustration for those courses difficult to complete. A maximum score for every course intends to encourage replay, but advanced stages actually require that you come close to that maximum.

In short, this fails to become an alternate objective because it's so closely allied with your primary goal.

This also means that, for the most part, a single fault in a black level means you might as well start the level again. This lack of slack certainly has a place in the game, but not within its current structure. There needs to be a gradual increase in difficulty, not a sharp jump.

Short-sighted design leaves the game without alternative touch controls and a thorough explanation of every element of use during play. It’s easy to miss out on some of the core controls, like the ability to slow down by touching the screen.

The control of the sled works well enough, although it would also be good to see touchscreen controls alongside tilt. It's difficult to understand why such an option isn't included.

These omissions, as well as bare bones course design and uneven difficulty, contribute to the game's amateur quality. What charm it has melts away mere moments into play, leaving Little Red Sled to a bumpy ride.

Little Red Sled

Amateur charm is run over by an uneven level of difficulty, rudimentary courses, and a lack of features