Games: Alto

I never used to play computer games or video games of any kind until I got an iPad. Since then I’ve become a semi-avid player, which is not to say that I play a lot of different games, but that I spend more time playing than I should. And I’m picky about the games I play. My eye-hand coordination is not great, so games that require too many actions aren’t right for me. And aesthetics play a major role; for instance I refuse to play Cut the Rope, Candy Crush or Angry Birds because I find them ugly, and not worth the wasted hours.

Which brings me to my latest game obsession, ALTO (or, Alto’s Adventure), built by the Canadian team, Snowman. Designed by Harry Nesbitt, it employs the simplified shapes and soft colours of some other recent games, notably the justly lauded Monument Valley. The game is about snowboarding down a mountain, and the play is easy, using only one finger (though the game is not necessarily easy and as in all games, has seemingly impossible impasses). But what I love the most is how the scenery, weather and time of day changes as you play.

The course changes, so you’re not always starting over with the same run, and the light and conditions change to distractingly beautiful effect. Many a time I’ve  run into a rock because I was looking at the scenery, or missed a jump as the sun came up behind me. I have even gasped when my figure was caught as a silhouette against the sun.

And I lost many games while taking screen shots for this post (though I now see there are even better shots available on Snowman’s site. If this style of aesthetics in gaming is a trend, it’s one I approve of, for now. While Alto has many different types of goals to achieve, mine is to get as far as possible, just to see new things. (Now there’s an idea for a game! Someone call me.)

And Harry Nesbitt has posted a “making of” Alto’s Adventure on his site. Piles more information there!

Anyway, gotta go. I have some hills waiting for me.