22nd Jun2020

‘Lonely Mountains: Downhill’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

For years now I’ve been on the search for that perfect biking game… Yes, I know, its a very niche genre to enjoy and it is – currently – dominated by by the likes of the Trials games and the myriad of clones it inspired. However there have been some great, in fact ONE great mountain biking game, way back in the days of the original Playstation… No Fear Downhill Mountain Biking. A game I fell in love with and a game I, honestly, played more than any other title I owned on the PS1 ever. Ever. So yeah, a very niche genre to enjoy I know. So imagine my surprise when an email popd up regarding a brand new mountain biking game and a DOWNHILL mountain biking game at that.

However Lonely Mountains: Downhill is far removed from the No Fear game I enjoyed all those years ago. That game was more about the arcade-like experience of making your way down a mountain on bike, trying to get teh best times etc. Here things are a LOT different. Lonely Mountains: Downhill takes the concept of biking to a more serene level, mixing biking with the kinds of walking simulators that have found success on recent consoles. Though to be fair, I’m not the biggest fan of those kinds of slow-paced walking sims; in fact no matter how hard I try to get in to them I just can’t enjoy the experience. Thankfully Lonely Mountains: Downhill does offer something extra… your on a mountain bike, going downhill, at whatever speed you want, for a start.

Yes, Lonely Mountains: Downhill is a perfect blend of sports simulator and walking simulator. You can take each and every level/track at your own pace, do it your own way. Want to cruise down the hill following the course perfectly? You can. Want to hit speeds, cut corners and even find shortcuts to get the fastest time? You can do. Want to to both? You CAN do. Lonely Mountains: Downhill is the kinds of game that will appeal to all different types of gamers.

That’s if you can get past the “simulation” part of the game. Damn is it frustrating. Really frustrating at times. If you’ve ever played a car racing sim, where damage can impede your progress and you have to take note of gears, fuel etc. then you might get into Lonely Mountains: Downhill‘s gameplay. But… but… if you like arcade-style racers, the fact that you crash and DIE at the slightest turn sometimes will undoubtedly put you off. At least at first. It certainly put me off the first few times I played the game. But then, after a few trips downhill, getting used to the use of acceleration and braking and the sensitivity in the controls and the bike itself, something clicked and the full Lonely Mountains: Downhill experience opened up to me. And you know what? I’ve now invested a hell of an amount of time playing this game – more than a number of my other Switch titles in fact! Mainly thanks to the sheer satisfaction that comes from finishing each mountain track after you’ve spent hours trying and failing. In fact you could consider Lonely Mountains: Downhill a metaphor for life – if at first you don’t suceed try, try again…

Lonely Mountains: Downhill is available on the Nintedo eShop now.


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