You’ll probably remember the first time you played Trials HD – brilliant, wasn’t it? As time has gone by, though, the bike balancing formula has lost a little of its lustre. Lonely Mountains: Downhill recaptures some of the aforementioned series' early magic with a moreish outdoorsy outing that will have you both punching the air – and, well, punching the wall.
This is a wonderfully minimalistic cycling sim spread across four unique mountains. Split into a sequence of different trails, you’ll find yourself pedalling through increasingly challenging routes using six unique saddles. Some of the bikes are designed to be tossed down huge ravines, while others are built for sprints – at the expense of effective handling, of course. There’s a stamina meter that you’ll have to manage, while shortcuts abound behind every polygonal tree.
An outstanding camera guides you through the increasingly complex environments, leading your eye and forcing you to focus on the challenges ahead. Clever pacing means you’ll constantly be unlocking new content, but you’ll need to replay levels over and over in order to clear all of the objectives and top the leaderboards. Soft focus pairs with angular PSone-inspired art to make for a whimsical visual style, while the audio eschews a pumping extreme sports playlist for the ethereal soundscape of nature – and, well, not much else.
It’s a moreish experience, buoyed by outstanding controller response and a compelling reward loop. Occasional framerate hiccups threaten to wrestle control out of your hands, but instances of this are generally uncommon. This is a very different kind of two-wheeled platforming to the recent Trials Rising, but it scratches the same kind of itch – arguably more effectively, too.