The obvious objective of video games is to entertain people by surprising them with new experiences. – Shigeru Miyamoto

I haven’t ever really been big on mobile games. I have my PC and consoles to play video games on and not really any long commutes or such where I would have a chance to play on my phone. I have really started to enjoy Alto’s Odyssey though. The game is part of the Alto’s Adventure series and it is a collaboration between Toronto based studio Snowman and UK based artist and developer Harry Nesbitt. The gameplay is very simple: you snowboard through a procedurally generated landscape and when you tap on your screen you jump. Tap and hold to do a backflip.

Even if the mechanics are simple they are hard to master. You can also buy different tools and upgrades through the workshop in the game with in-game currency. You get coins through playing the game, watching ads or buying with real money. Personally, I have not bought any coins and have had no issues with gathering them at a steady pace by playing the game. There are several other characters that become available to play by either buying the character with real money or doing challenges to gain levels.

What really made the game catch my eye was the art. It’s very minimalistic and changes while you play. There is a daytime cycle as well as different weather patterns so you don’t really get bored with the background even if you get really far into a session. I may also have hit my fair share of rocks and other obstacles because I was looking at the art and not where I was going. There are low rocks that I sometimes have a hard time spotting, especially once I have picked up speed, but other than that the visuals are clear and easy to follow. There is not a colorblindness setting in the game, in case you need that option.

The is very casual gamer friendly, so it will work for you even if you haven’t really played anything before thanks to the simple mechanics. The tutorials are pretty clear, even though it might take a few tries to get some of the tricks in the game. Practice does make perfect however and the game introduces the elements pretty slowly so that you can learn things at your own pace. When it comes to leveling you can also skip some of the goals you need to accomplish with using coins if you just can’t get it. I personally have not for the life of me been able to do a double backflip, so I skipped that goal.

So in case you need a new mobile game to play, I highly recommend Alto’s Odyssey. It’s easy to pick up and is easy to pause in case you need to do in between. The game won’t harass you with micro-transactions and I usually roll through a few ads to make some extra coins while making myself a cup of tea or such. It’s not a holy grail kind of game for me, but something that I will get a lot of fun out of for quite some time.

I give the game 4 out of 5 Sandboards.

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