As a child, I always loved the idea of downhill cycling; the rush of the wind, feeling every bump in the ground beneath you, the thrill of weaving between dangers. The reality was never quite as kind. Turns out that in order to ride down a hill, you have to climb up it first. Then there's the faceplants, the blood and the mud.
Young Dominic learned to stick to flat, clear roads.
As flawed as the reality was, I still hold a place in my heart for that platonic ideal, never quite realised, so I find myself drawn towards Lonely Mountains: Downhill, a game (now seeking funding through Kickstarter) aiming to capture at least some of the spirit of clinging to a two-wheeled metal frame while hurtling down a mountain at dangerous speeds.
We previously covered Lonely Mountains back in May, but brilliantly named studio Megagon Industries feel that after two years of development they've finally got the kinks worked out and have managed to assemble a compelling yet accessible game engine. Now all they need to do is build a game around it, and that takes time and money, hence the crowdfunding.
The full game they have envisioned feels ambitious. Megagon have several semi-open-world mountains planned for the final product, each offering multiple distinct timed routes as well as camps and secrets to discover if you feel like riding a little off the beaten path. Rather than focus purely on the time-attack aspects as in Redlynx's Trials series, there's at least a little celebration here of that downhill biking ideal.
The game looks lovely. Simple textures and chunky polygons combined with pleasant lighting results in a world that's nice to look at, while still being very easy to parse at a glance. Something that you'll probably want to do, given the whole downhill cycling thing.
At the time of writing, there's 23 days to go on their Kickstarter, and they're a little over halfway to their €35,000 target. A €15 pledge will be treated as a preorder, although there are the usual slew of options for high-rollers and those low on funds.