I Can’t Stop Playing 'Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City'

A perfect mix of chill and challenge in the palm of your hand

Key Takeaways

  • Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City brings the 2018 endless runner to Apple Arcade, complete with a brand new area to explore.
  • The Lost City sticks to the core endless nature of Alto’s Odyssey, while also slowly transitioning players from the chill desert sands to the bustling canopy of the city.
  • It’s the perfect mix of simplicity and challenge, which leads to an almost unlimited amount of replayability.
Cover art from 'Alto's Odyssey: The Lost City'

Team Alto

Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City is now available on Apple Arcade, and I haven’t wanted to put my iPhone down since I started playing.

Sometimes a game releases, and it’s just so good that you find yourself drawn back to it again and again. I’ve had that happen many times throughout the years, but it’s very rare for those games to ever be found on my mobile phone. When the original Alto’s Odyssey released in 2018, it was enjoyable, but I quickly forgot about it amidst the other big titles dropping that year. 

Going back to the acclaimed endless runner with the release of Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City on Apple Arcade, I’m reminded of why the simplest games can sometimes be the most enjoyable.

"It’s a nice sensation that reminds me a lot of the way a character’s world starts to expand when they leave their hometown in a fantasy novel."

Keep it Simple

Right off the bat, the most appealing thing about Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City is the sheer simplicity of the game. As an endless runner, you’re always on the move, which means you’ll need to look out for obstacles that come up along your path. However, unlike some endless games, Alto’s Odyssey only makes you worry about two controls: jumping and doing tricks.

Of course, you’ll need to combine these two controls to hit tornadoes that can lift you or even bounce off hot air balloons to gain extra lift. Despite those additions, though, it all feels smooth and simple to control, as you can do it all with just the press of a single finger.

The entire core gameplay is made up of collecting points as you flow through the levels on your snowboard, taking in the beautiful vistas that make up the endless desert. Along the way, you also slowly start to transition from the quiet dunes to the more business-like avenues of villages, and then later to the Lost City, itself. It’s a quaint transition that fits in perfectly with the easy vibes the game gives off. 

Begging to See More

One of the most significant changes with The Lost City is the introduction of a bustling town, which adds new elements to the back and foreground. Compared to the sandy dunes of the endless desert, though, it feels a lot different.

Because Alto’s Odyssey—and the other Alto’s games before it—is so heavily honed in on providing a chill experience, the developers have come up with a unique way to build out the world and introduce those new elements.

As you progress, the game starts to reveal more and more, adding new parts to the background. It’s honestly part of what kept me playing for so long after first booting up the game. The game already does a good job of making you want to continue—throwing goals at you like "collect x amount of points" or "travel x amount of meters" to unlock new levels.

Throw in the smooth transition and teases of new areas, and it all comes together in a way that makes it hard to walk away, as you find yourself wondering what lies ahead.

A screenshot from Alto's Odyssey: The Lost City

Team Alto

There’s no real story in Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City, but it almost feels like the developers are taking you on a journey as you progress. Each section of the world and each run you complete gives way to more and more of the area beyond the screen.

It’s a nice sensation that reminds me a lot of the way a character’s world starts to expand when they leave their hometown in a fantasy novel, and it’s something I love to see games explore—especially in such subtle ways.

If you’re a fan of mobile games or just looking for a new chill game with a little challenge, Alto’s Odyssey: The Lost City is out now on Apple Arcade. If you aren’t that big of a fan of mobile games or have a hard time justifying the price of Apple Arcade each month, then I recommend picking it up for at least a month or two. This revitalized version of Alto’s Odyssey is more than worth the $4.99.

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