Review: Alto’s Adventure, an endless snowboarding odyssey unlike any other

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As promised, developer Snow’s much anticipated game called Alto’s Adventure has backflipped into the App Store. Two years in the making, Alto’s Adventure challenges you to embark on an endless snowboarding odyssey across procedurally generated alpine hills and breathtaking scenery.

You’re zipping through neighboring villages, drifting through peaks and valleys, collecting shooting stars, passing through ancient woodlands and long-abandoned ruins while enjoying with simulated night and day, weather conditions, awesome lighting effects and more, courtesy of the Unity graphics engine.

Featuring a somber soundtrack and smooth execution, the game has you rescuing runaway llamas while performing various tricks to progress and unlock new characters, each with its own distinct set of capabilities and snowboarding styles. Best of all, Alto’s Adventure is a premium game with no ads or In-App Purchases.

The one-tap control system makes it easy and fun to perform various tricks. A few minutes into the game and you’ll be drifting through peaks and valleys, grinding rooftops and leaping over chasms like a pro.

Some of the backdrops you’re snowboarding against include Chasm, Dawn, Forrest, Night, Snow and Storm. The game includes a total of 180 goals, each carefully handcrafted and raising the ladder in terms of the skills required.

By the way, you’re highly advised to use your headphones in order to fully appreciate the game’s somber soundtrack and sound effects which have been designed for an ambient, immersive experience.

And again, because the landscape is procedurally generated, weather conditions change between plays. As the sun sets in gradually, you’ll be snowboarding in the midnight, at dawn and everything in between.

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The Wingsuit is another element that adds variety.

This sought-after item must be purchased first. That means you must play the game for some time, completing the challenges and collecting the stars in order to earn enough credits to be able to afford the wingsuit.

Once you’ve purchased it, you can do all sorts of crazy tricks with it. Also, certain challenges can only be completed using the wingsuit. For example, one specific goal requires you to catch a lama with your wingsuit.

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Buy how do you use it?

Easy, just charge your scarf to maximum length (full speed, full boost) by performing quite a few tricks consecutively. The easiest way to do this is to land a bunch of big combos together as quickly as you can.

Then, you’ll see an on-screen button appear on the left side of the screen. Tapping i activates the wingsuit, letting you do things like this.

As mentioned before, grinding along village rooftops, leaping over terrifying chasms and outwitting the mountain elders will earn you points as you compete with friends on Game Center for high scores, best distances or best combos. Completing the goals unlocks additional characters and collecting shooting stars earns you credits to upgrade their skills.

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For those wondering, snow is a small Canadian software studio based in Toronto which conceived and developed several other apps such as the popular to-do software Checkmark.

I can’t stress enough how good this game looks and how smoothly it runs. I was especially taken aback  by simulated weather and lightning effects such as thunderstorms, blizzards, fog, rainbows, shooting stars and more. Here are a few screenshots to give you a feel of what I’m talking about.

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  • Fluid, graceful and exhilarating physics-based gameplay
  • Procedurally generated terrain based on real-world snowboarding
  • Fully dynamic lighting and weather effects, including thunderstorms, blizzards, fog, rainbows, shooting stars, and more
  • Easy to learn, difficult to master one button trick system
  • Chain together combos to maximize points and speed
  • Test your skills with 180 handcrafted goals
  • Discover six unique snowboarders, each with their own special attributes and abilities
  • Challenge your friends with Game Center. Compete for best high score, best distance, and best trick combo!
  • Acquire the wingsuit from Izel’s workshop for an entirely new gameplay dynamic
  • Beautifully minimalist and evocative visual design
  • Original music and handcrafted audio for an ambient and immersive experience (headphones recommended!)
  • Universal app with iCloud support. Play on your iPhone and iPad and your progress will always be in sync.

The universal 65-megabyte downloads requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad compatible with iOS 7.0 or later.

Again, this is a premium game with no ads or In-App Purchases. “We were inspired to stick with our guts and sell it as a paid app after seeing Monument Valley do well,” developers told me in an email.

Alto’s Adventure is unlike any other winter game I’ve played. I’m a fan of Skii Safari but it doesn’t come close to this game.

Fans of winter games and those who’re looking for a dash of originality in the App Store’s game section shouldn’t miss this one.

In my personal opinion, Alto’s Adventure is fully worth the asking price. It looks splendid, is delightful, doesn’t disappoint in terms of longevity and will surely keep you coming back for more.

Alto’s Adventure is two bucks in the App Store.