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Review: Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Nintendo Switch)By Ofisil At 10.05.2020 21:43

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This begins with a biker on the top of the mountain. He begins going down, following a path that's decorated with some text that explains the controls. Five minutes in and you now know everything you need to know. The slow descent is challenging, full of narrow roads, sharp turns, and long slopes full of trees and rocks, but it's easy to get the hang of it. The surrounding environment is also breathtaking, and the absence of music makes this quite the comforting experience, with the only thing keeping you company being the sound of the bike's tires brushing the dirt, as well as the calming sounds of nature, like leaves rustling, birds chirping, and river water flowing in the distance.

Reaching the end of the trail involves crashing into trees, on rocks and boulders, or by falling off a cliff. Numerous times. You'll get the hang of it, though. The controls are excellent, feel extremely natural no matter which scheme of the two will be chosen, and are definitely one of the reasons that playing this is so darn fun. Plus, checkpoints are scattered along the way, and you get infinite retries. Crossed the finishing line? Great. The challenges for the trail have just been unlocked, and players can now try to get new trails, parts for buying bikes, and skins for them and the biker, as long as they can clear a trail on a set time, or avoid crashing too often.

Yes, Lonely Mountains: Downhill is challenging, but it's challenging in the best possible way. Failure, constant failure, in fact, is a common thing here, but you get better each time, and it's an immense pleasure to see yourself slowly becoming a high-speed daredevil, doing insane stunts in a trail that, just an hour ago, had you riding your bike like a frightened amateur. It can occasionally be somewhat hard to judge the distance or angle, and every now and then a tree in the foreground will block the view, but this mostly plays it fair, with players having themselves to blame for any mishaps. The difficulty curve is great too, with each new trail adding the right amount of difficulty to the mix.

Challenge, Smallenge! In the end all that matters - all that has ever mattered in the world of video games, is their capacity to be entertaining and engrossing. Forget this nonsense about difficulty, unlockables, and so on and forth. The awesome thing about this title is that it feels… well, awesome to play, managing to immerse players into its beautiful, low-poly world. It's hard to put it on text, but the adrenaline-pumping tension that stems from trying to overcome the - many - challenges of the mountain at crazy speeds, combined with the otherwise peaceful vistas on offer, actually let this be immensely thrilling and soothing, both at the same time!

Now, don't mistake this for a niche title that is aimed at a particular demographic, like mountain bike aficionados or whatever. This nothing more than a rally game on two wheels, which revolves around beating your own times again and again, with each new time being just one or two seconds shorter than before. Here's the thing about Lonely Mountains: Downhill, though. It's such a fun racing game that it's actually easy to recommend it to those who aren't even fans of the genre. Sure, those who want something more-casual friendly, or something that's not as "barebones" in terms of content probably won't like it… but those who will are in for something with quite the replay value.

Trying to beat the clock, or brave the spire that is the online leaderboards, is quite the strong hook, but that was never enough, since that would actually get boring after a while. The thing that gives this its "just one more time" magic, and does so in spades, is the semi-nonlinear design of the tracks. To be more specific, getting a better time isn't just about riding the bike better, but about testing the limits of what it can do. Players aren't simply advised, but expected to find alternative routes that go way off the beaten track, via slopes that are even more slippery, forests that are even more dense, and paths that are even more dangerous. As if the "safe" road wasn't painful enough…

So, in conclusion, this is fantastic. One of the best releases of 2019, and now it has finally arrived on the Switch. All is fine and dandy? Unfortunately, not really. Sure, there's only one problem at hand, and is a bit of a serious one, and it puts a stain on what is an almost flawless diamond. Expect sudden and heavy frame rate drops for no particular reason, which, due given the nature of the game, isn't exactly a good thing. Morover, the console seems to be working as if it's running DOOM Eternal or something, although this is obviously not a demanding title, and should therefore have none of these issues. Hopefully, this is nothing that a future patch won't be able to fix.

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Final Score
The few performance issues aren't enough to keep [i]Lonely Mountains: Downhill[/i] from being a must-have for Switch owners, whether a racing fan or not. The result of this masterful mix of the beauty and serenity of nature, and the gripping challenge of extreme mountain biking, is a genuine classic, one with an insane replay value hidden behind its simple concept.

9

/10

User Comments
#1 jesusraz (News Editor) - on 12.05.2020 at 13:20

I gave it a punt, not expecting much... but boy was I wrong! I'm glad I took the chance from your recommendation. Other than some odd deaths (going to make it, going to...oh, dead), it's highly addictive! Smilie

#2 Ofisil - on 12.05.2020 at 19:01

jesusraz said:
I gave it a punt, not expecting much... but boy was I wrong! I'm glad I took the chance from your recommendation. Other than some odd deaths (going to make it, going to...oh, dead), it's highly addictive! Smilie

Really glad u liked it.

#3 jesusraz (News Editor) - on 12.05.2020 at 23:17

It's going to drive me crazy, but it seems so addictive so far! I don't know why, but it feels like a mix of Unirally and Stunt Race FX... maybe just in terms of the old school feel of it all.


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