Alto's Odyssey was my most anticipated game on the Android release calendar since it was released for iOS back in February. Rather than having to wait a full year as we did for Alto's Adventure, Odyssey arrived just six months later thanks to the fine folks at Noodlecake Studios who have delivered another absolute gem for Android gamers.
Alto's Odyssey is a simple endless runner game that has you dashing down desert dunes, wall riding rock formations, and exploring ancient ruins, but the gorgeous sound design, soothing soundtrack, and shifting color palettes will keep you coming back for more adventure.
Here's a short video showing of Zen Mode, which lets you play the game with no distraction scores and no game overs — just you and the endless desert dunes.
Expanding on everything we loved from the first game
Creating a sequel to a celebrated game like Alto's Adventure is no small challenge, as you want to capture the quirkiness of the original game's premise while building on the core concepts that made the game such a joy to play. Here, Team Alto did a great job of not just changing the scenery, but justifying the decisions by incorporating brand new gameplay mechanics that feel right at home because they're built right into how you interact with the environment.
Gone are the snow-capped mountains and runaway llamas. Instead, Odyssey takes us to more tropical locals with Alto swapping his snowboard for a wall-riding sand board. There's more interaction with the environment here, too, with mini tornados tossing Alto high in the air, hot air balloons offering movable targets for grinding and bouncing, and much more to explore as you progress through the game.
This game is downright gorgeous with its shifting landscapes rendered beautifully with vivid colors — taken with the cinematic musical score and you get a pristine gaming experience. It's also not particularly resource heavy so even someone rocking an older phone can enjoy it.
New additions help the game feel fresh
As much as I love Alto's Adventure, it was important to me that Odyssey offers enough new content to justify itself. Fortunately, there's a ton to unpack and discover for hardcore fans and anyone who's coming into the franchise alike. The main game mode is back with plenty of goals to go after each run and characters and features to unlock, and the fan favorite zen mode is also included here for those times where you just want to kick back and relax.
Each playthrough is unique in that the terrain is always procedurally generated, which is perfect for an endless runner such as this. Because there are so many new elements in play here, you'll always discover new ways to link combos and reach new heights.
The free-to-play model executed to perfection
Just like the first game, Alto's Odyssey is free to play with ads on Android, or you can play an in-app purchase to remove the ads. When I interviewed Ryan Holowaty of Noodlecake Studios I made sure to ask him about this decision as the Alto games are paid apps for iOS.
Holowaty said the decision to make the Alto games free to play on Android was based on the download and buying habits of Android gamers. In that case, Team Alto must have been pretty satisfied with the performance of Alto's Adventure on the Google Play Store because they went the same route here with Odyssey. While some might prefer paying for a game of this quality from the outset and never having to deal with annoying ads, I appreciate the ability to test drive a game before I invest cash and have found this to be a perfect compromise.
Alto's Odyssey has lived up to all my expectations by delivering more of the core gameplay I loved from the first game while layering on added depth and more rewards for progressing through the main game. Best of all, this isn't a game to replace Alto's Adventure but rather a new game that compliments the previous title.
Both Adventure and Odyssey offer familiar-yet-unique experiences, and my only question now is whether there's a third journey in the cards for Alto and pals.
Get the most out of your Android gaming experience
SteelSeries Stratus Duo ($60 at Amazon)
A great Bluetooth controller for use with Android games that offer gamepad support that also includes a wireless USB dongle for gaming on PCs. Highly recommended!
Ventev Powercell 6010+ Portable USB-C Charger ($37 at Amazon)
This battery pack from Ventev is recommended so often because it's so compact and convenient. You get a built-in USB-C cord, built-in AC prong for charging the unit, and 6000mAh battery capacity.
Spigen Style Ring ($13 at Amazon)
Of all the phone mounts and kickstands we've tested, the most consistently reliable and sturdy is the original Spigen Style Ring. It also has a minimalist hook mount for your car's dashboard.
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