Not long ago I wrote about Arid, a survival game created by students at the Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. It's an impressive and beautiful free game, and now here's another game from another group of students at Breda University that's just as free and just as impressive. I'm not sure what's going on over at that school but they sure seem to have a lot of aspiring game devs there, and some pretty talented ones at that.
This one is called Til Nord, and while Arid took place in a scorching desert, this is an open world third-person snowmobiling game. A sprawling island called Snøfall øyer is your playground, and you can explore its snowy peaks, frosty valleys, and icy roads on your trusty, slightly customizable snowmobile.
Just watch out for the rivers and lakes. No matter how sleek and shiny it is, your snowmobile can't swim.
Zipping around the world doing freestyle exploring and launching off ramps can keep you busy for ages, but there's some structure in Til Nord, too, and you'll find several different mission types as you carve up the snowy island. Some missions are just races on various tracks, like the one I found in a junkyard where you have to speed through a maze of rusting cars, and there's a much longer one on a dedicated snowmobile course with lots of ramps and jumps. There are delivery missions too, like when I had to deliver food from a restaurant to a resident like some sort of icy version of Uber Eats.
Some missions are a bit more extreme, like when I was entrusted with delivering explosives to clear some rubble that was blocking a bridge. That doesn't seem like the kind of job you'd ask a random snowmobiler to do, but I wasn't going to say no to blowing something up. In another mission, workers at a research facility had locked themselves outside the gates, so they asked me to jump the fence and unlock the gate for them. The only way to do that was to literally launch myself off a ramp at the top of a nearby mountain. The island of Snøfall øyer was clearly zoned with snowmobilers in mind, since there are jumps and ramps all over the place.
In fact, most missions seem to cast you as not just a snowmobiler but a damn island hero. At one point I was asked to locate a frozen wind turbine so it could be repaired, and another had me restoring power to a lighthouse. You know how every case in Knight Rider could be solved by driving a car? In Til Nord, every problem has the same solution: Get the one guy on the island driving a snowmobile to fix it.
The physics are pretty wonky, but it's a fun distraction and there are plenty of lovely sights, plus a day/night cycle and changing weather to boot. Wiping out gives you a nice look at some comical ragdoll action, too, and it's a quick keypress to respawn after you wreck.
Plus you just can't beat the price of completely free. Riders Republic just got delayed, so if you're looking to carve up some snowy mountainscapes at breakneck speed, spending some time in Til Nord should tide you over.
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Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.