Yes, it’s cold outside.
And yes, it’s getting slushy and dark and snowy and wet.
Fear not, winter also means playing in the snow and skating, skiing, and building snowmen.
Plus, if you really don’t want to go outside, you can enjoy some of this fun with winter-themed games, played on your phone.
Icycle: On Thin Ice
$1 on iOS
Fresh on iOS is the hilarious and highly addictive “Icycle: On Thin Ice.” The app is a 2-D action game that blends traditional gaming genres like platforms and ladders with racing.
But this description does not do the game justice.
What other game lets you play a tiny naked cartoon guy riding a tiny bicycle over difficult terrain?
The graphics are fabulously cute, and as the gameplay changes from one level to the next it requires different skills.
In some levels, you have to carefully time your moves to dodge falling icicles.
In others, you have to navigate through mazelike obstacles.
“Icycle: On Thin Ice” is great fun. However, it’s not easy, and you will find yourself revisiting levels to complete challenges like finding hidden items.
I can’t find much to criticize in this game, apart from how much time it may eat up.
Also, be careful of the in-app purchases if you give it to your children to play, because those purchases can cost up to $20.
The nudity in the game is definitely cartoonish and should be of the safe-for-work variety in most cases.
The app costs $1.
Free on iOS or Android
For a more winter-sportslike game that may remind you of the fabulous snowboarding game SSX on gaming consoles, try out “Crazy Snowboard,” free on iOS or Android.
This pseudosimulation game places you in control of a snowboarder navigating a downhill terrain peppered with obstacles and jumps.
You steer your phone in the air to make turns and tap on the screen to spin or do tricks like grabbing your snowboard in any one of a number of impressive ways.
The game has 3-D graphics, engaging music and sounds, and such extras as changeable boards and snowsuits.
There are several playing modes, like free play or mission-based downhill runs, to keep your interest.
As you earn more points, you can buy more outfits or more impressive tricks.
However, amusing as the game is, it lacks some of the compelling sizzle you might expect if you’ve played a console skiing or boarding game, partly because you travel the slopes alone with no other players to race (or crash) against.
The full “pro” versions ($2 on iOS and $1.03 on Android) do have more content, including more outfits, tricks, and missions, and this may account for why the game is so popular on both platforms.
Ski Challenge 14
Free on Android and iOS
If it’s a skiing game experience you’re after, then “Ski Challenge 14,” free on Android and iOS, is definitely one to try. This game has perhaps the most impressive graphics of the apps mentioned here. Playing it by rotating your phone, you almost get the sensation of skis biting into the snow to make tight turns.
There are several courses to choose from, though you have to qualify and race on them to unlock the later ones. There’s even a sense of competition, thanks to the online mode in which your live race times are compared with those of other players. But the game requires you set up a (free) account, and it’s designed to get you to buy in-app “coins” to upgrade your experience or repair skis, which have limited on-snow time. This can quickly get annoying.
Finally, check out “Ski on Neon,” $1 on iOS, and “Stickman Snowboarder,” free on Android, for simple 2-D casual gaming. Both are games you’ll come back to again and again.
Oh, don’t forget to go outside, too! Winter really isn’t that bad.