Friday, 11 September 2015

App Review No. 92 Alto's Adventure

Strong Points:
Great, clean art style
Easy to learn, hard to master gameplay 
Changes in scenery keep things interesting
Introduction of power-ups add variants to the gameplay 
Lots of characters
Nice sound effects and music

Weak Points:
Can get repetitive
Some challenges seem impossible or just random
Power-ups and characters are introduced to slowly
Some of the obstacles can meld into the background 
Not too many variants in obstacles
Speed decreased suddenly if you jump but do no tricks

Rating: 87%

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
19th February 2015

Tap to jump
Hold to flip

This app is a 2D endless runner that puts most other ones to shame, for sheer production values alone. The graphics and art style are superb, with dynamic lighting, crisp animations and changes in scenery, time and weather which change the crisp colour creatively (awesome alliteration achievement, achieved). However, due to the water paint art style some objects (especially rocks) can meld into the backround. So be careful!

The gameplay is fun too of course. You are Alto (to begin with at least), and are tasked with recapturing your llama's from down the side of a mountain before they escape or fall to their deaths. To capture them, simply touch them and they will sit. An unusual premise to say the least and one that doesn't really get that much of a mention after the introduction but it's nice that a premise is there.

The game's secondary objective is to collect points. You gain points by doing tricks, escaping elders, putting out fires etc. Some activities give you more points than others, for example, grinding on rooftops give you more points than backflips but backflips add more to your multiplier. This is a nice system although more variation in the types of obstacles/tricks would be nice.

The game's tertiary objective is to complete objectives. You can complete these by doing tricks, collecting llamas, travelling for a certain distance etc. They start off easy and the objectives fly off the screen, and then it happens. The dreaded difficulty spike. These usually happen just before you are about to get to a new character (which you unlock by doing so many levels of objectives) and range from maddeningly impossible (do two triple jumps in one run) to completely random (witness 3 lightning storms). This makes the game frustrating, and, so, repetitive and just another endless runner really. Which is a shame because the general feel of the game is superb.

Power-ups are fun to use and range from magnets and hovering, to save-your-life's and wingsuits. While these won't necessarily help you with completing objectives (besides the power-up specific ones), they change the gameplay up enough to be fun.

Conclusion: overall, this app shows that some companies do take app making seriously, and that's good to hear.

Thanks for reading, Satamer

Update: climb the mountain and reach the clouds! The iCloud that is! Further changes include:
Added MiFi Game Controller
Players can now choose whether or not to use the helmet or chasm rescues after crashing
Added volume sliders to the settings menu
Added the option to move the pause button to the right side of the screen
Various improvements and bug fixes to iCloud syncing
Improved and more reliable Game Centre functionality
Improved smoothness of animations and motion on some devices
Fixed negative coin bug
Fixed floating llama bug

Update: many large bug fixes and improvements including:
Characters no longer lose their special ability
Progress will no longer be reset (an effect of the last update) and those affected should have their progress restored
The game will no longer get stuck on the title screen
Increased area and responsiveness of wingsuit button
Game Center Waypoints will no longer appear incorrectly
Increased the time that the combo score stays visible on-screen after landing tricks
Various other UI tweaks and improvements

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