Title: Lonely Mountains: Downhill
Developer: Megagon Industries
Genre: Arcade, Racing, Sports
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: 3+
Release Date: 07/05/2020
Price: – £17.99 / Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Lonely Mountains: Downhill is an arcade-style sports title aimed at those who are after some good old fashioned cycling. Of course this isn’t just your average biking sim. There is all manner of environmental hazards you’ll have to avoid in order to successfully reach the bottom of the mountain trails on offer here. With its blocky style and tongue-in-cheek gory deaths (you can turn the blood off if that’s not your thing) Lonely Mountains is not taking itself too seriously. And I mean that in the best possible way.
The aim of the game is to pass through all the checkpoints on your way down the mountain trails and get to your campsite at the bottom. You’ll unlock different challenges within each trail and further trails upon completing said challenges. Additionally, you can unlock new customisation options for your rider and bike like paint jobs and outfits. It’s a fantastic progression system as it encourages you to replay and repeat the trails to narrow down your best times and shoot for the expert challenges. Each trail has multiple paths you can cycle and it’s really up to you and how you wish to experiment on how you reach the bottom. You’ll notice that some shortcuts involve you going completely off track and this is one of the things that has kept me going back and chasing those expert challenges down until I nailed them.
Some challenges require specific bikes to complete; there are six to unlock which you can do so by collecting the small gears rewarded for successfully completing other challenges. They each offer their own advantages and disadvantages ranging from stability, shock absorption and acceleration. Once you’ve unlocked a new mountain peak you’re then faced with a new set of trails and challenges and there’s a steady stream of fresh content to keep it from feeling stale. You’ll find yourself progressing quite fast if you’re not looking to 100% complete the game but there’s plenty of replayability on offer for people willing to invest the time.
With this being an arcade mountain biking sim you’re bound to fall off a few times. You’ll find yourself careering into rocks, trees and even bridges! The controls are simple enough once you get the hang of steering the bike and there are two methods to choose from. You accelerate (or pedal) with the ZR button and ZL will hit the brakes. It’s that easy. After a few near misses and fatal accidents, I promise you’ll be a pro in no time!
You’ve got a handy crash count in the top right corner and depending on which challenge setting you’re doing, there are between 6-8 checkpoints littered down the trail. Once you’ve passed through one, your time is saved up to that point and any further implications on your poor battered body will mean you’ll respawn in that place. I found this really helpful when you’re looking to shave off a few seconds as you can then think about each part of the trail as a section and work out the best routes between one to the next.
The peaceful trails bring with them the serene sounds of gushing water, birds singing and an all- round calming nature. There’s little soundtrack here but it fits the aesthetic perfectly and definitely feels more authentic this way given the environment. One of the things I found when playing through the Redmoor Peaks was at times the tree branches would obscure your vision for a split second because of the fixed camera angle; depending on which way you look at it, this could be seen as an extra challenge or a poor design choice.
This is a great title for the Switch and it’s clear that a lot of time and effort has been spent on the different mountain peaks, trails, challenges and customisation options. It’s great value for money and if you’re done with all of the daytime trails – they’ve even added separate challenges to complete for a night ride with limited visibility and a much greater difficulty curve. The perfect game for that lazy Sunday afternoon and made all the more convenient in handheld play!