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Monday, August 3, 2020

Game Review: Alto's Odyssey

This pandemic has been quite the challenge on everyone’s mental health. I think that the events of 2020 have brought on a surge of so many emotions — way too many emotions than what we normally must deal with — and we need to find a way to keep ourselves in check. We need things to help calm us and help us to relax despite the circumstances. Oddly enough, one of those things for me has been playing this mobile game called Alto’s Odyssey.


Alto’s Odyssey is a game where the player is a sand boarder who travels the desert and must accomplish several challenges to move on to each level. Along the way you earn coins that you can use to purchase several items that can help make the challenges easier.  As you go up the levels, you travel to different locations and get to play/use different characters. I have only just started playing this, so I still have a long way to go and lot of other features to discover.


The game is not that hard to play and there is no learning curve. My nephew, who is only 6, has been able to learn how to play this on his own and is good at it. The player basically just keeps sliding down and you only have to help him to: (1) jump away from the obstacles or (2) do flips and other stunts to get to coins and to (3) move on to other places when there are gaps in the sand. Not all stunts are easy to do though, so sometimes you lose a life. The plus side is that even if you lose a life, any achievement you have had to move to the next level still gets saved. There is no need to start from the beginning. And if you are playing on Android, you can watch an ad so that you can continue and not lose that life. On a little side note: if you play on Android it is free, but you pay for it if you use iOS. Weird, I know.


Playing the game has been very relaxing for me. The scenery changes, along with the way it is lit (to show the changes in sunlight during the day to the evening) and the weather (from sunny days, to hurricanes and rain). Even the backing sounds remind me of those meditation apps on my phone to help calm me down. The app also has a “Zen Mode:” which means you don’t have to complete any challenges, your character won’t die, and you just keep sliding along to the relaxing sounds of the app to infinity (or until your battery runs out). I like this feature the most. There is no pressure to do anything. Plus, there is something about watching the character just move along while listening to the calming sounds (with headphones on if you want the complete zen experience). It is a bit soothing and relaxing to play that way.

The game’s graphics are simple but still well made and clean, which is interesting since some of the other games from this developer seem so amateur compared to it. There is, however, another app made by the same developer that is just as good and it is called Alto’s Adventure. It is like Odyssey but in a different setting. In this version, you are a skier who slides down the slopes. You still have challenges to achieve, obstacles to avoid and coins to collect AND it also has that Zen Mode feature that Alto’s Odyssey has.

If you are looking for a game to play to pass the time, or something to help you relax without going on the meditation route, this might be something for you to try.  

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