When you consider that Grand Mountain Adventure was made by a team of just two developers, you suddenly start to feel a lot more judgmental about many AAA mobile experiences made by big budget developers.
It’s hard not to. Toppluva has developed such a magical, whimsical experience and it feels very much like a work of passion. Whether it’s the simplistic controls, the wonderful snow effects, or the lovely soundtrack that draws you in, it’s the combination of all of it that keeps you.
On paper, there’s not an awful lot to it. You’re chucked onto a mountain with very little instruction or sense of direction. Within minutes though, you’re bombing down the mountain, completing challenges, picking up collectibles, and unlocking new fast travel points.
It’s then that the true genius of Grand Mountain Adventure starts to reveal itself. Unlike many games these days, this skiing experience revels in exploration, trial and error, and figuring things out for yourself.
Grand Mountain Adventure Revels in Exploration and Trial and Error
As a result, you still find new stuff hours in, which leads to many surprises. We started off performing simple jumps off ramps but eventually were pulling off half backflips, spinning our skiis like a helicopter, and landing backwards.
Because no one had told us how to do these things, we felt like we’d really come a long way from the point where just going down the mountain was scary and hard enough. In this sense, it emulates learning how to skii for yourself, as what initially felt daunting just becomes par for the course as you start adding new tricks to your roster.
Grand Mountain Adventure is the latest game to draw inspiration from Skate, in that there’s no button to tap to pull off a certain trick. It’s all very natural, with you swiping in different directions to pull off the trick that makes the most sense. Pull both sticks backwards in the air and you’ll do a backflip or swipe left or right to spin in that direction.
Combining a bunch of tricks with a grind in between is tremendously fun and satisfying, but that’s not all there is to Grand Mountain Adventure. There are speed challenges, navigating treacherous terrain, unlocking new skiis and snowboards, and a wide variety of mountains to conquer.
Pulling Off Tricks is Immensely Fun, as is Speeding Down the Mountain
It kind of feels like an old Tony Hawk game in structure, just without the time limit. You’ll explore the mountain, uncovering new challenges and stuff to do. Then, when you’ve uncovered everything on the mountain – including the extra hard challenges – you can move onto the next.
Though the difficulty does ramp up over time, it never feels like a particularly frustrating experience. You just want to try again. It helps that the game makes it so easy to restart a challenge by simply tapping the rewind button or fast travelling back to it.
But the most soothing aspect has to be the music, which is absolutely fantastic. Somehow, going through flags during a challenge almost feels like a rhythm action game, as the sound effects sound like part of the music. That’s just one piece of the puzzle to Grand Mountain Adventure – everything seems to work in cohesion with each other.
That’s why we chose that silly tagline to this article. Grand Mountain Adventure has a lot going for it. The tricks are fun, the challenges satisfying, and the mountains a true joy to explore. Each individual piece of this skiing adventure is brilliant, but it’s the combination of everything that makes it a must play.
Each Individual Piece of Grand Mountain Adventure is Brilliant, but its the Combination of Them All That Makes it a Must Play
And it is a must play. We can’t give Grand Mountain Adventure anything but a perfect score because everything it does it does well, and there’s a ton of content on offer for those that pay the inexpensive IAP to unlock it all. The developers have only got themselves to beat if they choose to work on a sequel.