Ambient graphics and music are spectacular and ensure movement is never overbearing
Objectives and rewards remain enticing
The minimalism comes off tastefully
Compensation for some characters could be done more substantially
Power-ups don't always prove useful
Slow death makes it occasionally repetitive when attempting numerous runs
Alto’s Adventure is a snowboarding game that’s actually fun – forget the usual overbearing emphasis on trick points and flimsy controls. This flat graphic game keeps it tasteful by hinging on an impressive balance between the marvellous mechanics that it has.
The game follows the journey of Alto as he snowboards through his life catching runaway llamas, escaping elders, and performing neat tricks against a beautiful backdrop. Players can compete against other players around the world through points that they earn by performing trick combos, catching llamas, jumping across treacherous chasms and grinding on rooftops.
If, like me, you’re not into chart-topping (mainly because I’ll never make it to the top), the main aim is to complete the goals provided for the level, so as to earn coins (to purchase power-ups) and to unlock new characters as you move up levels.
You lose the game if you fall on your ass, dive off a cliff, or if you hit a rock. Those don’t actually happen very frequently, but that’s only because the game’s more of a progressive endless-run game than one that’s based on unreasonably challenging repetition.
And this is why Alto’s Adventure never gets boring: the levelling system is practical; you progress whenever you achieve the goals that have been set for the level, which generally includes catching a number of llamas, or performing a kind of trick in a specific setting.
Most importantly however, they’re always the right amount of a challenge—practical enough without needing to engage in aimless gameplay just to purchase a power-up to get past a level. With that said, the game is not a breeze, and does require mastery that you will pick up along the way.
Characters with different specialties can be unlocked based on your level, and the game doesn’t demand that you complete tasks that are not within the specialty of the characters that you have yet to unlock. For instance, unlocking Maya who is lighter than the other characters, gives you tasks that only she can complete (like performing three backflips).
Apart from that, the coins that you earn can be spent on power-ups, such as the increase in the duration of coin magnets or a hover (keeps your character floating for a certain period of time). None of these power-ups are for one-time use and help build some sort of power-set, though some of them can seem rather insignificant. If you don’t want to spend on power-ups, you can use your coins to skip tasks instead.
Speaking of coins, you can also earn them by watching advertisements. The ads are tastefully placed (a mere button at the end of your run) and grant you coins or the ability to revive your character mid-run. Not watching them doesn’t mean you miss out on anything, and at no point are they forced upon you.