Beautiful Endless Runner, Alto’s Adventure Will Blow You Away

The beauty of the backgrounds, running the course of the day, lighting the landscape is absolutely incredible. This game shows what the iPhone is capable of without focusing on it. Snow and rain fall, lightening and shooting stars flash across your screen, as you become one with the mountain. Fiery embers and smoke rise into the air as you blaze by. The animation is truly stunning.

It is the simplicity of games like these that hook mobile gamers. Alto’s Adventure reminds me of Tiny Wings a few years ago. Beautiful graphics is what sells these games, not game play. But even with very simple gameplay, the game has a lot of great elements. Capture the llamas— which are points; the llamas are points—, collect coins, and chain tricks to get a higher and higher score. But watch out for the elders. They don’t like your youthful antics.

As you complete 180 goals, you will unlock 6 characters. Maya is the flipper. Paz is slow to start, but builds up big speed. Izel is the gadget junkie, trailing fire behind her board. Felipe is a llama. On a snowboard. Go with it. And then the elder, Tupa, channels the energy of the mountain.

Use your points to expand the magnet and hover gadgets and buy the wing suit. Yes, the wing suit. Not only do you snowboard with llamas, but you can fly too.

To say that I have played this game for hours is an understatement. Last week my daughter, a six month old that sleeps soundly through the night, woke up screaming at 3 am. My wife and I were up for 2 hours trying to get her back down. For the second half of that time, I was playing Alto. At 4 in the morning.

Beautiful games are few and far between. This is something special and unique. The team behind Alto’s Adventure has been working on it for two years. You can see the earliest experimentations on Harry Nesbitt’s blog as he tooled around with the Unity engine and on his Dribbble account as he worked through llama animations. The passion of the design and development team just bleeds through every pixel. Their two years are worth it, in my book.

Alto’s Adventure is available today for $1.99 on the App Store. Two bucks. No In-App Purchases. Just two bucks. Go. Play for hours now and make sure you tweet your high scores!

House of Heroes — The End Is Not the End Vinyl

Maybe you’ll see me on the evening news
Maybe you’ll see me with a bag over my head
If that’s the case, then I’ve met my doom
If that’s the case, then my comrades are dead
And I don’t hate my enemy
I hate the cloud he’s brought over my land
There’s no virtue in killing a man
Neither is there virtue in being afraid to stand

But I saw the black coats forming lines
They hit our beaches running
We’re on our knees but not to pray

You’re the only reason I stayed
In this coward’s melee
I’d rather die than live without mercy and love
Sing while the city decays
We’d rather go up in flames
Lest we betray thy names of dignity and love

Last month I pre-ordered the vinyl of one of my favorite albums, The End Is Not the End from House of Heroes. This album has consistently been in my playlist for nearly seven years. It is kind of crazy to think it’s been that long and it still ranks as one of my favorites. Last year they crowdfunded another album and one of the stretch goals was to do a vinyl runoff this album. Kind of a brainless choice for me.

This album contains a lot of songs set in World War II and the Cold War era, including Code Name: Raven, By Your Side, Journey Into Space, and Baby’s a Red.

Sitting here this morning, I cannot help but think of my Christian brothers that were just beheaded in Libya by ISIS. “I don’t hate my enemy, I hate the cloud he’s brought over my land. There’s no virtue in killing a man, neither is there virtue in being afraid to stand.” These men stood by their faith until they could kneel before His eternal throne. So many in the American leadership and media are afraid to stand for those that died in the Paris shooting last month or the Denmark shooting this month. Too afraid to stand for the freedom of speech. Heck, while Jesus was on trial, Peter denied any association with Christ.

Sometimes our wish to appease those that hate us— so as to not be hated, or to just survive— prevents us from standing for something good and true. When the nation of the crescent comes for our heads, will you stand for something or take knee before them to keep your head?

Song Ratings

★★★★☆ If
★★☆☆☆ Lose Control
★★★☆☆ Leave You Now
★★★★☆ Dangerous
★★★★☆ In the Valley of the Dying Sun
★★★★★ Code Name: Raven
★★★★★ By Your Side
★★★★★ Journey Into Space, Pt. 1
★★★☆☆ Sooner or Later
★★★★★ Baby’s a Red
★★★☆☆ Drown
★★★☆☆ Faces
★★★★★ Voices
★★★★☆ Field of Daggers
★★★★☆ The Young and the Brutal
★★★★☆ New Moon
★★★★★ Ghost
★★★★☆ If (Acoustic)
★★☆☆☆ Serial Sleepers (Acoustic)