Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC)

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Retro STrife
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Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC)

Postby Retro STrife » April 14th, 2020, 1:26 am

EDIT: This game has not yet been released on Switch. It is announced for Switch, and already available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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"Just you and your bike - take it on a thrilling ride down an unspoiled mountain landscape. Make your way through thick forests, narrow trails and wild rivers. Race, jump, slide and try not to crash - all the way from the peak to the valley!"

That's the official description of Lonely Mountains. On its face, Lonely Mountains is a downhill mountain biking game, where you start at the top of a mountain and follow the path downhill to the bottom. But the game goes a lot deeper than that. There are 4 mountains in total, and each mountain has 4 separate trails to play. On each trail you have various objectives. The two main objectives are: (1) "Crash less than XX times" and (2) "Finish in under XX:XX minutes". Both objectives are designed to create a different experience. In the first mode (trying not to crash), you'll ride your bike slowly and carefully down the hill, sticking to the main path, enjoying nature and the sights and sounds around you. This mode is mostly leisurely and relaxing. In the second mode, when you need to beat the time limit, you'll suddenly go into speed runner mode -- flying down hills, skidding around tight turns, launching over jumps, and, best of all, seeking out a variety of secret paths where you can risk life and limb to shave a few extra seconds off your time. In that time attack mode, you'll crash over and over trying to perfect your run, and that trial and error approach to improving your time is part of the fun. As you play, you'll gradually unlock more trails and more bikes, along with customized clothes and bike colors. Lonely Mountains also has a nice retro vibe to it, with its feel and simplicity. While the game does not look or play like Excitebike, I somehow found myself getting flashback to the days of playing that game on my NES.

If Lonely Mountains has a flaw, it's that the thrill of the trails can wane as you get further along, especially as the trails get harder to complete. Sometimes the leisurely rides are the most fun, and you lose that experience during the treacherous cliffs, drops, and jumps of the later levels. Also, while the trails have some good variety, you can only go down so many hills before they start to look the same. Still, I had put at least 5 or 6 hours into the game before hitting that lull. Also, be warned - the controls are incredibly wonky at first, due to the camera position, but give it a chance and you'll adjust soon enough.

VERDICT: Where Lonely Mountains worked best for me is as a secondary game. When I wanted a break from my main game that I was playing, I could drop into Lonely Mountains for a nice change of pace, playing a few trails and making a little progress. If the concept behind Lonely Mountains appeals to you, then rest assured that the gameplay delivers and it's worth a look. The game is only available as a digital download, selling for around $20. It has been released on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with a future release coming to the Switch. I played the PS4 version.

Lonely Mountains is an under-the-radar hidden gem, and I give it a B+.

Buttermancan
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Re: Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC)

Postby Buttermancan » April 15th, 2020, 5:56 am

Nice review. I like the art style and would like to try it out does it have a demo? I ask as I'm unsure if it's worth the asking price?

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Retro STrife
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Re: Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC)

Postby Retro STrife » April 15th, 2020, 10:38 am

Good question - not sure if it has a demo. It might also depend on the system.

But I hear you about the price. I waited for it to go on sale before buying it. I was keeping an eye on the PS Store for months, and then finally it dropped to $15 for a week or so. I was hoping for a bigger drop but I was like "whatever, can't wait around forever". I've gotten my $15 worth out of the game, but I know it's not for everyone at its current $20 price point. For $10 or less, it would be a great pick-up. It's the kind of fun, casual, pick up and play style game you hope for at $10 and under. It can be worth it for $20 too, but depends more on your gaming preferences at that point.

(Side Note: Also, I just noticed that the game has not been released on Switch yet -- it has only been announced for that system, with no release date yet. I edited my review above to reflect that.)


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