Lonely Mountains: Downhill is developed by Megagon Industries and published by Thunderful Publishing. It has actually been around since October 2019 and arrived on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One at the same time. Six months later we see the success of this title transfer to Nintendo Switch, with a scheduled release date of 7th May 2020.
Now, when you assess what Lonely Mountains: Downhill is all about, which essentially is a Downhill cycle racer aiming to get from A to B in the quickest time possible, you’d think of this as fairly relaxing. With its unique blocky vibrant artstyle, you’ll experience many feelings within your time with this game. And if you have played games such as Trials HD and titles similar to them, you’ll know those feelings very well. The feeling of absolute frustration as you attempt to nail each course the best you can. But as frustrating as things become, it is what drives you as it is incredibly addictive.
The main objectives are the meat and potato of this game here. You are to get from the top of the mountain to the bottom as fast as you possibly can with minimal to no crashes involved. Sounds easy doesn’t it? I can assure you it isn’t as simple as it appears. You’ll be cycling across a diverse range of locations among four main mountains which could include wooded areas, dusty trials and many more. The art style, whilst simple, is fantastic with beautiful backdrops and I found myself taking my eye off the task at hand whilst taking in the level design and how well drawn it appeared.
Now it is your choice how to play these levels, you can either absolutely bomb it down as quick as possible and play out the consequences en route. Or you can take your time and make a conscious effort to negotiate all the bends, twists and turns the tracks throw at you. The clever component here is there are hidden rest stops on the tracks and these actively encourage you to go off plan and require some sort of skill and precision to reach. The level design is magnificent in that you’ll have opportunity to take a short cut to try and shave seconds on your run down the mountain. These shortcuts are a big gamble a lot of the time though and often had me shouting an obscenity at the screen and hitting restart time and time again till I got it right. For the perfectionists amongst us reading this review, this will add huge longevity as being perfect requires practice. Practice does make perfect right? I’ll leave that for you to decide.
The truth is, the game is adorable. It tries to make it quaint and relaxing for you, there is no background music to bother you. I’m guessing they went for the feel of the sole biker in the mountains alone with the picturesque views. You can hear the birds tweeting in the background, the sound of gravel underneath the tyres and even the click of the chain on your bike. The beauty of all this though is the controls feel so natural and strangely you feel in total control of the mechanics of your bike. You start learning when to freewheel, when it’s best to brake and when to attempt negotiating a corner. The game does all this exceptionally well, in a game like Trials you never feel truly in control of the motorbike. Lonely Mountains: Downhill absolutely nails all aspects of the control system.
The first time you set off on your bike you’ll get a display of the control system as you progress almost like a fast track tutorial and then you’re on your own. The more you tick off through the game, you’ll start to unlock more things such as different bikes which will improve certain areas of the ride and also you’ll be able to adjust the look of your character also. This does give the experience some longevity, albeit not a great deal. My one and only criticism is the lack of online multiplayer here, although there is leaderboards for highest scores on each of the levels, that is far as it goes. If you could go head to head with someone on the same track for the fastest and highest score, this would maximise the enjoyment of the game. But this is me being ambitious and I can’t fault the game itself for a lack of a mode.
Lonely Mountains:Downhill is a game I have played prior to testing it on the Nintendo Switch, as I had the opportunity to play this on Xbox One when it first arrived. If you’re reading this and are in the market for a new game that is addictive and really quick to pick up and play then this is the one for you. If you enjoy titles such as the Trials series you will definitely be sucked into this addictive gem of a game. Lonely Mountains: Downhill absolutely shows you that graphics don’t make a game, even though it’s visually vibrant and basic, it is still beautiful in its own right. You may be thinking that there are thousands of indie games on the Switch and I also find it personally difficult to choose something to play. But this is absolutely a game you should have in the Nintendo Switch library. Performance wise, it handles perfectly on the Nintendo Switch and looks slightly better on the big screen docked rather than handheld, but I would be booting this one up first when out and about on my travels.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lonely Mountains Downhill Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 9/10
Lonely Mountains:Downhill is an addictive pick up and play title that will bring the perfectionist out in you. A must buy!
- Beautful landscapes and backdrops.
- Control system is absolutely spot on.
- Seriously addictive.
- Lack Of Online Multiplayer.
- Can be frustrating to some.
- More content would be welcomed.