Alto’s Adventure is a beautiful-looking snowboarding game coming to iOS next week, Feb. 19. Inspired by games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Journey and Windosill — so it’s off to a pretty good start — the endless snowboarder aims to capture the flow and feeling of snowboarding, its creators say, and has a trick system that follows the “easy to learn, harder to master” mantra.
It also has a gorgeous trailer that might just make you feel some emotions, especially if you’re a sucker for Iceland’s Sigur Rós.
Developed by Snowman, Alto’s Adventure promises 180 handcrafted goals. As they snowboard through procedurally-generated terrain, players will “rescue runaway llamas, grind along village rooftops, leap over terrifying chasms and outwit the mountain elders.” They’ll ride through various types of weather to compete for distance, trick-based combos and high scores.
Players can also acquire a wingsuit that Toronto-based Snowman says adds a new dynamic to the game later on.
The developer says it wanted to capture the essence of snowboarding, while addressing what it saw as something that other games in the genre haven’t quite nailed yet.
“I think a lot of games focus too much on the kind of things you’d see in a console game,” Snowman co-founder Ryan Cash said in an interview. “And that often means (complicated) console-like controls on-screen, which never sat quite right with me on mobile. Not to say it can’t be done at all, but it doesn’t feel like it’s been designed with mobile first.”
Cash said he believes that other games don’t quite nail the rhythm and flow of the sport. “In real life, cruising down the hills with my headphones in, I’m kind of just really in rhythm with the mountain, and everything else sort of just disappears,” he said.
A love of trick-based games, namely Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 , inspired the game’s combo system.
“Jordan and I (the guy I started Snowman with) grew up playing Tony Hawk together, many times all night,” Cash said. “So reliving that reminded us of why we loved it, and so we tried to capture some of that essence and bring it into Alto.
“We’ve made it so that Alto is fairly easy to get into, but once you get really good, you can do some pretty crazy things.”
Cash said the developer tried to build on the Pro Skater series’ use of fun, positive goals.
“A lot of runners have uninteresting and repetitive goals that you have to beat, and a lot of the time they’re negative,” he explained. “When I say negative, I’m referring to those goals that are things like ‘Die between 700-800m’ or goals that require you to spend money (in-game currency, often with the need to grind for a long time or face spending real money).
“We tried to make our goals really fun … So that if you’re stuck on a goal, at least it’s one that’s fun, and not something that’s annoying.”
Alto’s Adventure will be released for iOS devices on Feb. 19. Cash says the developer was inspired by Monument Valley to make its snowboarding game a premium — the game costs $1.99 — release without any ads or in-app purchases. It will have iCloud support, so players can continue their games across iPad and iPhone.
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