Lonely Mountains: Downhill review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Thunderful Publishing
Developer: Megagon Industries
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E10+

I feel like cycling isn?t a sport that translates to video games particularly well, generally speaking. I remember playing — and being bored to death by — a Tour de France game at some point in the last several years, and even the Wii Sports Resort version wasn?t particularly interesting. I mean, I love cycling in real life to a moderately unhealthy degree (I?m one of those people who even bikes when it?s thirty below), and even I?m fully capable of acknowledging that it?s super repetitive by its very nature — it?s not easy to make the act of pedaling very exciting.

So, from that perspective, Lonely Mountains: Downhill is kind of impressive, in that it?s a game about cycling that?s not terrible. It?s got some flaws, which I?ll get to shortly, but on the whole, I didn?t hate it.

This, I suspect, can be attributed to that fact that it?s less about the act of cycling, and more about capturing the feeling of it. The game takes place across a series of mountain trails, and you just bike downhill. You bike through fields and forests, across rocks and over streams, and you hear the wind and insects and babbling brooks. At its best, it?s a pretty relaxing game.

Unfortunately, the game isn?t always at its best. Lonely Mountains: Downhill has got an absolutely brutal camera that doesn?t always show you exactly where you?re going — which is kind of a big deal, seeing as the game often leaves you with no margin for error. Not only do you face all the obvious dangers of biking down a steep mountain — that is, falling off the edge of a cliff and tumbling to your death — your bike is also prone to hitting tree roots and edges of rocks that stop you dead in your tracks. While my annual tire innertube budget would acknowledge there?s some truth to that, it ultimately feels a little too unforgiving.

But, as I said, when Lonely Mountains: Downhill works, it works pretty well. It?s far from perfect, but if you want a game that captures the zen of cycling, it mostly does a decent job of that.

Thunderful Publishing provided us with a Lonely Mountains: Downhill Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-