Ironically, the last game I reviewed was The Nightmare Cooperative, and in the rambling introduction I spoke of the positives of enduring negative experiences with others, whether you’re crawling through a dungeon or chasing a killer shark.
Here we're reluctantly embracing solitude and firing up the CAPS LOCK as we fly through space… ALONE.
What is ALONE? Well, it’s technically – technically – an endless runner, but bear with me for a couple of paragraphs before you go hitting the Back button.
See, ALONE is an endless runner with a price tag (£1.49, since you asked), and that means you can forget all about tedious coin collecting and grinding in order to veeery slooowly improve your stats. There's none of that here.
Instead, what we have is a decidedly pure test of skill and reaction, very much in the vein of Canabalt – and other endless runners that existed before in-app purchases came along and stunk everything up.
In ALONE, we’re flying from left to right in a little space capsule thingy, and the aim is simply to avoid the rocky terrain at the top and bottom of the screen, and weave through space crud like rocks and comets. Sounds easy, right? Er...
ALONE is unashamedly brutal, and chances are you’ll struggle with your first few runs. That’s partly on account of the speed, and partly because of the controls.
Interestingly, ALONE adopts a control system that ultimately emulates the functionality of an analogue stick, something that traditionally doesn’t work too well on touchscreens, where you’re either touching, or you’re not.
But somehow, the controls in ALONE work a treat. Essentially you hold your finger down on the left or right of the display, and it’s necessary to make very slight adjustments in order to move the capsule up or down.
Again, the controls take a bit of getting used to at first (I adopted some bizarre technique where I held down the left and right of the screen; it was somehow easier to wrap my head around even though one hand was ultimately redundant), but you’ll get there with a bit of practice.
Other things to like about ALONE include the suitably atmospheric soundtrack, evolving backgrounds, and multiple game modes.
On the poop side, there are times when you’ll curse the abundance of on-screen obstacles (sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to successfully navigate through them), and again it’s really, very hard (that’s what she said).
But on the whole, ALONE is well worth the £1.49 entry fee, and ideal if you’re into twitch games like Super Hexagon. Love.
- Looks pretty slick and runs really well
- Sounds great
- Multiple game modes (if you’re good enough to unlock them)
- Controls take a bit of getting used to
- “Damn you, abundance of rocks!”
- Pretty friggin’ hard
Summary: ALONE isn’t perfect (there are definitely times when the odds are insurmountable), but it’s hella fast and ultimately very enjoyable. No power-ups, no in-app purchases, no grinding; just a very pure test of skill and reaction.
Developer: Laser Dog
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimised for iPhone 5.