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Review by Chris

I love the look and sound of snow. There’s something about the quiet elegance of it interacting with the world that just blanket my day in tranquility. The only problem is that I hate everything else about it. It’s too bright when the sun hits it, it’s too cold to play in without wrapping yourself up in dorky clothes, and it tries to kill you with white-outs and avalanches whenever it gets the chance.

Luckily, if I feel like snowboarding, I can just play a video game. I don’t have to buy equipment, take a day off or even learn how to avoid face-grinding my way down a mountain. Who says video games are making us lazy?

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Actually, contrary to what that intro might lead you to believe, Alto’s Adventure doesn’t simulate the thrill of snowboarding. The game instead goes for a much more relaxed experience. By taking a side-scrolling view across a picture book landscape, Alto’s Adventure is the type of game with which I can lay back in bed and burn some evening time.

As with many titles in the iOS store, such as Banana Kong and Zombie Highway, this game is based around runs, as opposed to start-to-end completion. This structure of play isn’t surprising, given that Alto’s Adventure is technically a sports title.

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You are Randy. Nah, just screwing with you! You are Alto, and your job is to catch some llamas that have escaped your small hilltop village. On your snowboard descent down the mountain, you can grind suspended ropes, dodge rocks, jump gorges and catch air off of ramps. Your trick list is fairly limited (flipping and grinding) but the game is more about obstacle avoidance and objective completion than pulling off complex and stylish runs. As you complete objectives, you gain levels. With each level you gain, new objectives like llama collection, trick completion and distance goals are unlocked.

The atmosphere in Alto’s Adventure is perfect for a zen experience. The time of day, scenery and weather all change throughout your gameplay, which breaks the monotony that can form between runs. The music and sound effects also perform well, creating an all-around chill (PUN INTENDED) experience.

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My only real problem with Alto’s Adventure is keeping track of your environment on smaller screens like those found on the iPhones. This issue was not game-breaking, but it might be something to consider if you have problems keeping track of tiny characters.

I would recommend this game if you are looking for something casual to pass the time. An added bonus is that you don’t have to tilt your iOS device in public, thus looking like an idiot, in order to maneuver your character.  That’s always good, right?

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