TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Alto’s Odyssey’

The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Alto’s Odyssey

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since the original Alto’s Adventure [$ 4.99] launched in the App Store, becoming an unexpected mainstream success and thrusting developer Snowman into the spotlight. Ever since then people have been asking about a sequel, but due to all of their success Snowman was able to enter the publishing realm in addition to their own upcoming projects and as such have been quite busy these past three years. Well, at long last that sequel, Alto’s Odyssey [$ 4.99], arrived in the App Store this week almost three years to the day from the launch of the original. Here’s a brief excerpt from our review.

…Alto’s Odyssey manages to one-up Adventure in terms of creating a gorgeous atmosphere. The desert environments are stunning, and the biomes that the game introduces all come with their own elements to differentiate them, and provide a unique flavor to each run. You might wind up in one biome for a few runs, before you eventually start to end up in other biomes, and it all feels rather natural. The storms and day-night cycle add variety to each run, and create for some gorgeous worlds. If you want to just enjoy the landscapes without fear of failure, you can just play the Zen Mode, and pick back up whenever you crash.

…The new movement mechanic (which I’m not going to spoil because a large part of the game’s fun is in discovering things for yourself) adds a great new aspect to chaining together tricks, and in developing and maintaining speed throughout your runs. That’s the greatest strength for Alto’s Odyssey: the sense of feeling like your exploring a new world, not always knowing what you’re going to get next. I do like that the elder from Alto’s Adventure returns in a sense in Alto’s Odyssey, but lasts a much shorter amount of time.”

The launch of Alto’s Odyssey has been surprisingly mixed, with one of the big criticisms being that it’s not different enough from the original. I think that criticism is valid in so much that if you didn’t enjoy the first Alto, there’s probably not anything here that’s going to change your mind. However, for fans of the first game, this is what you love but bigger and better in every way. When it comes to making a game that you will constantly just stop to marvel at its beauty, Snowman is unmatched with their Alto games. That also means the original is still worth keeping around, as it offers an aesthetically different experience that’s still a joy to return to. But Alto’s Odyssey is better in every way, and whether you’re ready for more or you’re new altogether this is one that will become a permanent addition to your device happily living alongside its older sibling.

TouchArcade

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What’s your favorite mobile game?

Alto's Odyssey

It’s been a long time since the original Snake on old brick phones, and yet I can’t help but remember those times fondly. I played a lot of Brick Breaker back then. Probably more than Snake, honestly. I loved that game. Especially when I got my hands on a BlackBerry with that track wheel on the side.

So many hours spent breaking digital bricks.

One of the benefits of getting better smartphones is that our games have gotten a lot better, too. Not to take anything away from those old school games or anything, but the titles we have to choose from now are pretty fantastic.

There is a lot of promotional material that suggests our mobile games have reached “console level graphics”, and that’s probably true — if we don’t count current consoles. But, honestly, that’s not really here nor there.

I actually want to talk about the games themselves, and find out which titles have been your favorites over the years. We have had so many to choose from, especially with the digital storefronts like the App Store and the Play Store to offer them up. We have even had console ports, which, at least in some cases, have actually not been awful.

In fact, two of my favorite games on mobile have been console ports. Bastion and Transistor are two fantastic titles. (They both also offer spectacular original soundtracks, which I definitely recommend giving a listen to.) They aren’t quick titles, and offer a rich story, and I’ve loved going back to them.

As for the faster options, the games that can kill just a few minutes of time, Alto’s Adventure is still one of the best in my opinion. Also, Alto’s Odyssey just came out and it’s every bit as good, if not better, than the original.

Capcom recently launched Puzzle Fighter, which has been one of my favorite titles for years so I was happy to see it launch on mobile. It has a pesky waiting period for a lot of things, but that’s fine.

My go-to game has been Crossy Road for years now and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. It’s always fun to try and get a new high score, especially with all the different characters there are.

But what about you? What mobile games have you played, or still play, that are your favorites? Which game or games do you keep going back to? Let me know!

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A New ‘Hanger’ Game is in the Works and it Looks Bananas

The folks over at developer A Small Game have been bringing us joy through their fun and overly violent rope-swinging games for many years now. We had a really good time when we took the original 2012 game Hanger [Free] for a spin in just our second ever TA Plays video (remember those?). The goal was to hook and swing your way through more than 70 levels filled with deadly hazards and try to make it to the end in one piece. Well, the one piece thing is actually pretty optional, as during your journey it’s pretty likely you’ll get some limbs or a torso lopped off at some point, but as long as a badly bleeding but still alive portion of you crosses the finish line then you’re all good. Then in July of 2015 A Small Game released the follow-up Hanger World [Free] which brought more of that wonderful swinging mayhem but amped it up in every way with more levels, more playable characters, and even a full-fledged level editor built in. We enjoyed Hanger World a whole bunch too.

Well, the fun’s not over as A Small Game has announced in our forums that a new Hanger game is in the works, and following in the footsteps of those that came before it, it looks to be the biggest and best Hanger game ever. They’re also making a few pretty big changes to the formula of the previous games. First of all, this one will be played in portrait with just single button controls as opposed to the landscape orientation and virtual controls of the older games. Also, there will be one endless level randomly generated each day, and everyone in the world will play that same level and you can even see where other people have failed while you’re playing. Down below and at the top of this post are some very early teaser gifs of this new Hanger in action.

Ok, so that one on the right? Yeah that was just a performance test to stress test the game’s engine, but I think A Small Game and the players in our forums feel like there’s some potential to make some sort of crazy game mode out of that many hangers at once. Currently the team has only been working on this new Hanger for a few weeks, and they expect to keep plugging away at it and have it ready for release sometime this summer. In the meantime though, any and all suggestions and feedback are welcome, as they’re keen on implementing the types of stuff that the actual Hanger players want to see into the new game. So head over to the forum thread to drop your thoughts and/or ideas, and keep an eye on that thread as well if you’re interested in doing some beta testing when the time comes for that. We’ll be keeping an eye on how this one shapes up too and are looking forward to a new Hanger experience later this year.

TouchArcade