Alto's Odyssey

Alto's Odyssey Snowman. 2018. iOS, requires 10.0 or later. Version 1.0.4. $4.99.
Gr 3 Up—This app invites players into a desert landscape filled with subtle colors, a changing terrain, and unexpected obstacles. Those familiar with the popular Alto's Adventure (Noodlecake Studios, 2015) will be able to begin playing this exploration game right away, but first-time users will benefit from the quick tutorial. At each level of the game, the goals needed to level up are displayed; each one is gratifyingly crossed off when met. Players' character, a sandboarder, must accumulate coins, perform tricks, leap chasms, and avoid piles of rocks while grinding on the ropes of hot-air balloons and speeding down steep hills. When enough coins have been accumulated, gamers will want to take a trip to the workshop where they can purchase helpful tools and abilities to use the next time they misjudge the time to perform a back flip.Playing through the increasingly difficult levels will intrigue most users, but some will gravitate to "Zen Mode" where no score is kept, they can get up and keep going after crashes, and the music is even more serene. Audio effects, such as bird calls, are especially pleasing.The game syncs nicely between iPad and phone; a variety of setup options allows players to customize their experience and "Photo Mode" lets them share the journey with friends. Available in multiple languages.
VERDICT Alto's Odyssey can provide a few minutes of fun, but it will also keep viewers intrigued and challenged for long stretches of play.

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