Review: Lonely Mountains: Downhill

Review: Lonely Mountains: Downhill

Developed by Deutsch studio Megagon Industries and published by Thunderful Publishing, Lonely Mountains is a mountain biking game released for consoles and PCs. In this successful Kickstarter project, the mountain is your only opponent and nature, the witness to your many falls.

In this challenging game, you will race downhill at high speeds, running against the clock, while avoiding obstacles and the inevitable fall that threatens you at each corner. Control your bike speed and maneuver it between rocks, trees, cactus and cliffs in one of the most while trying not to lose the grip in a game that keeps yelling at you “just one more try”. Do you dare venture in these mountains, my young grasshopper? Good for you. Put on your preferred helm, select your favorite bike and let’s go down… hill!

What do you do? Lonely Mountains: Downhill (LMD) is a mountain bike racing game with an isometric vision that places you at the top of a mountain to race down a track against the clock. There are some challenges to make things more interesting, like finish the track under a specified time or a maximum number of falls, but you can also enjoy the freeride modes to fully explore each track and check the game’s beautiful visuals. And believe me: you are going to enjoy the view!

Admire the landscapes for a few minutes before starting the race

What we liked!

  • Delightful visuals: Don’t be fooled by the apparent leak of details and textures from these screenshots: LMD delivers clean polygonal graphics that may look simple but create a very distinctive experience surrounded by and truly immersed in nature in each track you will explore. Mountains feel unique, each one with their theme (grass fields surrounding mountain lakes, dark forests, rocky and sharp passages, dry deserts and more) and their challenging tracks, very different from each other thanks to their many elements like rocks, trees, logs, brushes and more (well, except for the parts some tracks share between each other in a same mountain). By combining these scenarios with excellent level design, we are gifted with amazing tracks to race into. And now we mentioned the level design…
  • Great level design! The level design of each track is composed by downhills, sharp turns, narrow passages, natural ramps, jumps (that feel amazing and give a chill down your spine thanks to a smart positioning by the camera), drops and lots of obstacles you need to avoid to reach the finish line. Tracks have different types of terrain that interfere with your speed and maneuverability, making you try to always keep on track to avoid losing time. Tracks have points for sightseeing, where your biker can relax for a few minutes, shortcuts and alternative routes you can explore to save precious seconds. Megagon Industries team didn’t waste talent or inspiration when creating these tracks!
  • Sound… what sound? The sound of nature, of course!, because this is the only sound you will hear while descending these mountains. The sound of nature and the sound of your bike ‘interacting’ with the environment – and by interacting, consider colliding against rocks and trees. The music is only present during the menu, but due to the game nature and immersion it tries to emulate, I didn’t miss the music during each race.
  • Customizing your ride: Before hitting the road (or downhill), you can customize your equipment and character. You can change a few elements of your character’s visual like gender, hair, helm and colors (and unlock more colors as you progress in the game). About your rides, there are 6 different bikes you can use in your races, each one with their own status (between stability, agility, sprinting, shock absorption, acceleration and grip) – and selecting the right bike can be crucial to beat the clock. To get access to these new bikes, you will need to beat challenges in each mountain and each track that gives you parts for new rides. Can you complete them all?
  • Controls and Physics: You can control your bike in two very distinct ways: by tilting the analog stick in the direction you want it to go (the standard mode) or actually turning left or right to maneuver it. I believe this is the reason why Michael, one of the editors of our PC team, placed it on the Mixed feelings (now Somewhere between) section in his preview of the PC version, but I had no problems controlling my bike once I switched to the alternative mode. And the physics in this game (controlling it at full speed, sliding in tight turns, jumping over cliffs and avoiding obstacles that would cost you the race) is thrilling and challenging – and will keep you coming back to the game at every fall. But once you hit an obstacle and your character falls from your bike, he assumes a ragdoll behavior (like in the Trials Series from Ubisoft and RedLynx) that will make you laugh!
I believe I can fly…

Somewhere between

Repetitive: Like any game that revolves around repeating a process over and over again (in this case, respawning and retrying at every fall), the game can feel a little repetitive after some time playing it. Even though there’s a great difference between tracks and courses, the same can’t be said about its game modes, which will vary from freely exploring the track to requiring you to complete the course each time faster. At the first sight of boredom approaching, you better take a break from your biking adventures.

Be careful not to fall from these narrow passages in the desert mountain

What we disliked

Lonely…for real: Yes, as the name implies, this is going to be a very lonely journey. That said, I believe there should be some sort of multiplayer to keep things more interesting – even a local multiplayer only. Since the game looks rather simple and may not demand too much from your Xbox CPU, racing downhill against one or more friends would add richer replay value to the game. Who knows, maybe there’s something the developers plan to add to the game in future updates and DLCs. I’m sure it would be much more interesting than only racing against the clock and the leaderboards.

Enough resting: It’s time to strecth your legs

Score: 90%
Lonely Mountains: Downhill is an easy-to-fall-in-love-with game like Michael fell in his preview. A game that brings fresh air to the racing genre, exploring a subgenre I’ve never experienced before. And since it’s available on Xbox Game Pass, there are no excuses for you not to give it a try! Do yourself a big favor and try this game in your first opportunity! And kudos to the development team for what you achieved here, my friends: a game that’s truly remarkable!