Playman Winter Games

Pizza, french fries, pizza, french fries.

As every hardened South Park fan knows, that's the safe and secure way to ensure kids don't end up losing a limb or two while learning to ski out on the slopes.

If even letting your little ones out in the snow in the first place doesn't bear thinking about, safer still is GameHouse's Vancouver 2010 – or Playman Winter Games as it's essentially been rebranded here.

Though not an exact copy of last year's Winter Olympics tie-in (there have been superficial changes made to the visuals and the names of the identical events), it's a game built around the same base – pressing buttons both rhythmically and quickly.

Taking sides

Like most summer and winter sports packs on mobile, the focus is not on attempting to replicate the games involved in any real sense, but rather to make success a question of honing your reaction time.

The most pure exponent of this set-up is ski sprint. Viewed from the side, your job is to hit keys '4' and '6' as icons pop up on the left and the right of the screen. The more you get right in quick time, the faster you ski, the idea being to get to the finish line ahead of your opponent.

Naturally, any buttons you misplace hinder your pace, the game thriving on both speed and accuracy.

This set up is then mirrored throughout the rest of the game. Freestyle, for instance, comes with a similar approach, although in this case you also have to hold the '5' key to make it over jumps as you head down-slope.

Playman one, Playman all

The benefit of tying each of the five sports together so closely, of course, is that the chances are if you master one, you're going to master them all.

Playman Winter Games also has a structure designed to keep you coming back, stringing together all five mini-games into one long tournament against five other competitors.

The problem is, as engaging as it is in the moment – the closer to the front of the pack you get, the more heated the contest becomes and, in turn, the more involved you find yourself – actually playing for anything beyond a few minutes highlights the monotony of it all.

Making the game solely a question of reactions also means its appeal is relatively short lived, suitable for quick bursts only.

Given what Playman Winter Games brings to the table is startlingly familiar, too, GameHouse's finest has gone from an essential gaming snack to one looking a little stale around the edges.

Still, the package as a whole is solid underneath, and though it's almost a year to the day since we last joined Playman on the very same patch of ice, Playman Winter Games is ultimately as edible and disposable as the pizza and french fries it replaces.

Playman Winter Games

With obvious similarities to Vancouver 2010, Playman Winter Games remains a pulse-raising package, but doesn't make distinction its signature