Dropping into even a small quarterpipe in real life is enough to give me the fear. Which is why it's miraculous that The Ramp developer Paul Schnepf has somehow managed to make faceplanting down a sheer wooden cliff look utterly serene.
Coming to Steam on August 3, The Ramp describes itself as a digital toy—offering up a series of pipes, bowls and ramps for your tiny skater to carve around. There are no scores to rack up or missions to complete, only the simple pleasures of landing a 540 nosegrab first-try.
I first caught sight of The Ramp last November, back when it was looking a little more pastel—and since then, it's earned itself a spot in the new wave of indies redefining what skateboarding games can be. Besides being less gamey than the other skaters I looked at, The Ramp is also unique in how it focuses on vert skating (doing big aerial tricks off halfpipes and bowls) over the usual park or street skating we see in games.
"While there are already awesome skateboarding games like EA’s Skate series or Skater XL and Session, all of them focus on street skateboarding," Schnepf told me. "I’ve always wished for a game doing proper justice to how pumping vert really feels. This is what I want to capture in my game, to give people a chance to experience what is so magical about skating vert themselves."
Schnepf previously helped develop similarly small, neat games like Superflight and Islanders. The Ramp hopes to echo that vibe with short, 15-minute skate sessions for $6—or, as Schnepf puts it, the cost of "a medium sized cinnamon pistachio latte to go."