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Review: Alto’s Adventure – Endless running skiing fun

Well-hyped for good reason – this endless runner is a visual treat

Alto’s Adventure has been making waves in the App Store. It’s reached number 1 in the paid charts in over 20 territories, deservedly. Its been praised for its brilliant gameplay, but it’s also been redefining the approach to design on the iPhone.

You're given three goals for each level

You’re given three goals for each level

This is why we’ll point out right here at the top that anything negative we say will largely be negated with the phrase, “oh, but it looks so good”.

Alto’s Adventure, despite its kudos, has a number of flaws. Whether it’s the fact that any powerups are largely a bit rubbish; there’s a feather that allows you to hover a foot above the snow for no discernible reason or benefit, or a magnet that sucks up any coins that are near you – only lasts a few seconds, and the likelihood of you being near any coins at that time is minimal. But you know what, that’s kind of okay. Because it looks great while doing it.

The weather changes from turn to turn

The weather changes from turn to turn

So while many will forget about these few flaws in approach – that’s pretty much okay. Alto’s Adventure is a lesson in how to make a beautiful and highly playable game – but it’s not quite a lesson in making an unforgettable game.

The game itself is somewhat of a skiing adventure. Alto appears to be in the snowy mountains somewhere, surrounded by simplistic villages, bumpy forests, and llamas. Loads of llamas. Alto has various tasks to complete, from recapturing these run away llamas, to waking up and escaping angry elders, to landing some sweet backflips in that soft, soft powder.

As does the time of day...

As does the time of day…

In nature, the game is an endless runner and levels only finish when you crash. Though the levels are procedurally generated, so each time it’s a new experience. What constitutes a level (of which there are 60 of them), you have to complete a series of goals (of which there are 180 of them) and unlike many levels that follow the rule of three, you have to complete all of them to progress. This can range from as simple as catching 5 llamas in one run, to landing a slick double backflip.

This keeps it hugely interesting, and the developers have come up with a massive range of goals to keep you going – and eventually, you’ll be able to pick up new snowboards with unique abilities. Though, occasionally, due to the procedural generation, it can get a little frustrating when one of your goals is to pick up certain items that seem to take forever to randomly appear.

There are also plenty of obstacles to jump and grind on

There are also plenty of obstacles to jump and grind on

But darnit, it looks so good! Alto’s Adventure is a true piece of interactive art, from its weather affects that change and progress – one turn you might be riding in the pouring rain, to another in dense mist. Night and day come and go, as will you. It’s not a game you’ll sit down and play for a couple of hours, but it is one you’ll return to frequently as you steadily make your way through the goals – giving an extra long shelf life to the game.

While we’re not sure anyone will still be talking about this game next year, Alto’s Adventure is a must play. Right now, in the month of March 2015.

Price: $1.99 / £1.49
Version: 1.0.1
Size: 64.9 MB
Developer: Snowman

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