App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Alto’s Odyssey is the follow up to the incredibly serene infinite runner Alto’s Adventure. The main difference here is that instead of riding on snow, you’re riding down sand dunes. The core of what makes the first Alto game is here almost completely intact, but Alto’s Odyssey is also packed with different environments to explore, an incredible soundtrack, and whole slew of new things to do flips off of. It may not be an entirely new experience, but Alto’s Odyssey is definitely an amazing runner.
Odyssey sports the same one-touch runner action as Adventure. Your character rides a sand board and is constantly sliding downhill on their own. You simply have to tap to make them jump to avoid obstacles and make it over chasm jumps. While in the air, you can continue holding your finger to the screen to make your character rotate and do backflips.
Backflipping earns you points, but it also serves a more important purpose. Landing tricks in Odyssey gives your character a speed boost and shield, which can allow you to charge through obstacles like rocks, gain the speed necessary to clear huge chasms, and accelerate past pesky Lemurs that can try to catch you and make you fall off your board.
As you play Alto’s Odyssey, you collect coins, which you can then spend on upgrades. These upgrades features some standard runner upgrades, like increased durations of magnet powerups and the like, but it also has some unique unlockables as well. One of these is the wingsuit from Alto’s Adventure, but there’s also a new board that lets you wall ride on huge rock faces and a radio that can call in barrels of powerups and coins for you at certain points of your ride.
On top of that Odyssey has a mission structure that gives you three distinct tasks to complete on any given run. Completing these tasks lets you unlock new characters, but the tasks themselves are also interesting little achievements themselves that encourage you to experiment with Odyssey’s mechanics. Trying to backflip between wall rides or grinding on vines to make them snap are nice little challenges that also teach you new ways to play the game.
The thing that really sells Alto’s Odyssey though is the game’s audio and visual design. The game looks incredible and features a ton of dynamic scenery changes that make the game feel like you’re in a living world. There are day and night transitions, sandstorms, desert rains, and more. All of has immaculate lighting and an incredible sense of style, which will likely prompt you to make good use of the game’s photo mode.
As nice as Odyssey looks, the game really comes together because of its sound. Seriously, if you play this game without headphones, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Alto’s Odyssey has a lovely soundtrack and really satisfying sound effects that are remarkably capable of drawing you in to what is—on its face—a pretty simple runner.
The bottom line
Simply put, Alto’s Odyssey is the best runner on the App Store. That’s not to say it’s good “for a runner,” mind you, it’s an amazing game by any metric. It’s got a ton of variety, it’s beautiful, and it’s satisfying, whether you’re playing it for two minutes or two hours.