Game: Lonely Mountain: Downhill
Genre: 3D, Arcade, Racing, Sports
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, PS4 and X box One)
Developer|Publisher:Megagon Industries | Thunderful
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £17.99 | EU 19,99 | AU $30.00 | CA $26.25 | US $19.99
Release Date: 7th May 2020
Review code provided, with many thanks to Thunderful Publishing.
The Great Outdoors
I’m an older guy and I like nothing more than going for a good old walk in the country side. To take in the birds signing, the trees, and all the greenery around. Getting some outdoor time is a great way to clear your head and sometimes put some stresses in your life into prospective. It’s incredibly rare for me to come across a game that reminds me of the great outdoors. But then along came, Lonely Mountain: Downhill (LM:D) which reminded me of the greatness of the outdoors on my Switch.
Get on your Bike
LM:D puts your feet in the peddles of a nameless rider. No story here, so my theory is they have escaped from their woes at work for a weekend and fancied a nice bike ride. Games don’t always need to be about the zombie apocalypse guys. You can choose between a male and female protagonist and customize your appearance. You then start at the top of a mountain and have to bike ride your way down at your own pace. The controls are fairly simple, a button to peddle, to brake, sprint, and of course a stick to direct your rider in the right direction. It’s one of those games that I actually found myself using the brake button quite frequently. Unlike say most racing games where I usually forget its there. In LM:D there are no other riders just you and the ‘lonely mountains.’
Puns aside, the controls are smooth and responsive to your actions. You’ll be taking many tight corners as you descend as well as riding over many jumps and hazards therefore crashing is almost a certainty. But the checkpoints are fairly frequent alienating much of the frustration. You are given a route to descend the mountain, but the game very much encourages you to experiment with off-road short cuts. The game dares you to go off the beaten path which will often lead to another funny crash. But sometimes you jump over a chasm, hop over a pond and by some miracle make it to the next check point. It’s a lot of just exploring the area.
Casual or Challenge Route
The game is very casual-gamer friendly to begin with. There are four mountains total and four individual routes to discover in each mountain. When you begin a route you’re only given the option to explore. There are no time limits or challenges and it just lets you take in the level at your own pace and crash as many times as you like. Once you finish the route, the challenges begin to open up. These challenges are separated into time based ones and completing the route without crashing too much. The later challenge being much easier for people that want to take a more casual route through the game. The good news is that by sticking to the crash challenges you’ll be able to unlock all the new mountains and routes. To unlock cosmetics and new bikes you’ll need to be fast and beat the time based challenges; this was something I wasn’t particularly good at. Time stuff generally puts me under a lot of stress especially in a game were bumping into a rock the wrong way leads to a crash. Regardless, this will appeal to an audience hungry for that challenge while totally not putting off the casual crowd.
Hear the Birds
The sound design of this game is delightful. While there isn’t any music, LM:D is able to whisk you away to the great outdoors. You will hear birds chirping, water flowing from the waterfalls and generally feel like you’re right there in the mountains. It may not sound impressive in writing but small attentions to detail like the skidding of your bike against the dirt as you brake, truly immerses you into the experience.
Wooden Graphics in a Good Way
The graphics are low poly style which reminds me of those models my partner likes so much called ‘Willow Tree.’
While I don’t think LM:D were inspired by these hand crafted ornaments, the simplistic style works with the game. There’s plenty of colour across the mountains and there were times where I simply wanted to stop on my bike to take in the scenery, maybe grab a nice screenshot. Then there were moments where I would crash and restart.
Lonely Mountain: Downhill is a lovely little ride that reminds you of the beauty of the great outdoors, something that’s needed so much right now. The game does a good job of appealing to the casual and challenge-hungry gamer. While it would have been nice to have more challenge options or alternative ways to unlock things. I really enjoyed picking up this game just to have a casual ride down a mountain. It took me to a happy place, and I hope if you decide to pick it up it will do the same for you too.
Final Verdict: I liked it a lot