Hands-on with Laya’s Horizon – 9to5Mac

Home » Hands-on with Laya’s Horizon – 9to5Mac
Hands-on with Laya's Horizon - 9to5Mac


Snowman first teased its major new mobile game in March and we got a closer look with the official trailer last week. Now the creator of the hit Alto’s Adventure/Odyssey series (and more) has officially released Laya’s Horizon for iOS and Android. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been playing the game over the last few weeks, here’s why I think you’re going to love it.

What makes Laya’s Horizon special?

Here’s what makes this game worth downloading (iOS/Android):

  • Unique and intuitive flying controls
  • Fun to play whether you just have a couple of minutes or want to do a longer session
  • Beautiful hand-crafted mountain world with tons to explore and accomplish
  • Gorgeous original audio that dynamically adapts to how you’re flying
  • Free download on iOS and Android for all Netflix subscribers – no ads or in-app purchases

Here’s how Snowman describes Laya’s Horizon:

Master the art of flying. Dive off mountains, weave across forests and glide over rivers to unlock new abilities as you explore a vast, peaceful world.

Use the ancient power of the Windfolk’s enchanted capes to hone your skills, take on challenges and fly through obstacle courses that will make your heart soar. Explore an expansive island in this open world wingsuit adventure.

Keep reading for all the fine details from my time testing Laya’s Horizon including a chat with the Snowman team. And if you haven’t seen it yet, the official trailer gives a great feel for the game:

Background

Snowman first dipped its toes into flying with the wingsuit in Alto’s Adventure in 2015, though it was something they had always been excited about exploring in a deeper way ever since co-founders Ryan and Jordan saw their first real-life wingsuit video as teenagers. Co-founder and CEO Ryan Cash also shared with me that he was inspired by his time learning to fly gliders with his grandfather as a young kid.

Bringing that love of flying into a whole new game was on Ryan’s mind for years with the team at Snowman starting work on what would become Laya’s Horizon in early 2018.”

What to expect

Here are the key elements of Laya’s Horizon:

  • Flying at your fingertips: Inspired by the real-world sport of wingsuiting, the position of Laya’s arms change the shape of her cape just like a bird’s wings. Move your thumbs independently or together to steer, boost, rise and dive using tactile, intuitive controls.
  • Endless exploration: Cut through the air in high-speed races and try not to crash as you carefully maneuver through challenging obstacle courses. If you’re in the mood for a relaxing adventure, simply enjoy the beauty of the island and fly without a goal. Drift down from your sky-high perch to soak up all that it has to offer.
  • Complete challenges, upgrade your skills: This game is filled with more than 50 exciting missions from many characters, over 40 challenge levels and more than 100 collectables to keep you flying. Unlock capes and charms to help boost your abilities. Unlock capes and charms to help boost your abilities.
  • High risk, high reward: Power your flight by flying boldly. Fly close to everything — from hot air balloons to snowy slopes — this will allow you to absorb the island’s energy and keep flying fast. If you feel a drop in energy, simply dip low and close to your environment to collect sparks and boost.
  • Find your own unique way to fly: Discover a unique set of flying abilities as you unlock enchanted capes and charms on your journey. Try out different equipment combinations to increase boost speeds, conserve energy and improve maneuverability.
  • Get lost in beautiful horizons and lush lands: From the winding rivers of the Highlands to the towering rock formations of Stone Forest, each patch of terrain offers a distinct flying experience. Weave through narrow caves filled with ancient ruins, skim over massive waves, dodge raging geysers and so much more.
  • Meet interactive characters: An eclectic group of people, the Windfolk are as diverse as the land they live on making meeting them as interesting as discovering the island itself.
  • Exclusive music and calming design: Original music and handcrafted audio welcome you into the world of the Windfolk. Adaptive audio matches the movement and intensity of your flying for a totally immersive experience. Enjoy an orchestral score that provides the perfect ambience to your flight and environment.

Learning to fly

When you first start the game, there’s a nice tutorial that walks you through the unique controls. Just like how kids naturally emulate a flying plane by zooming around and lowering and raising their arms to turn, that’s how it works in Laya’s Horizon.

I’ve never wingsuited, ha, but the turning controls reminded me of how the control bar works for kiteboarding.

You can do soft turns by raising or lowering one arm and do sharp turns by controlling both at the same time.

You also get your feet wet controlling height, boost, and parachute plus how Sparks work in the game.

Exploring the mountain

Once you complete the tutorial, you meet Stratus, the Seamster, and get your first look at the open mountain world.

When you’re at the top of a lookout point, you can move around to see where different challenges are along with the three goals to complete the level you’re on.

Another really neat touch as you’re first starting to fly, you start to reveal different areas of the mountain.

At the end of a run, you get to see a list of where you went and what you collected along with the visual of clouds dissipating on the map for the path you explored.

Ways to play Laya’s Horizon

One of my favorite parts of the game is that you have total freedom to fly however you want. You can go for accomplishing goals, winning races, leveling up, earning new capes, etc.

You can also just cruise down the mountain and explore whatever you’d like at whatever pace you’d like, and land anywhere. It’s almost like a combination of Alto’s zen mode plus campaign mode and you just decide with each jump how you’d like to play.

As mentioned above, another great part of that freedom is you can enjoy a flight for just a couple of minutes or settle in for longer to accomplish or explore as much as you want.

The attention to detail in the open mountain world is amazing and makes for a really immersive experience paired with the beautiful and dynamic original audio.

There are so many rich elements in the game like updrafts, wind tunnels, rings, cliffs to dive down, bridges, villages, rivers, geysers, snow, caves, and so much more.

Wrap-up

The experience is so fun and diverse with Laya’s Horizon, I can’t recommend it enough.

The only downside is you do have to have a Netflix subscription to play it. But that’s also what allowed Snowman to deliver the game to players for free with no ads or in-app purchases. I’d say Apple Arcade really missed out on adding a great title to its library.

You can download Laya’s Horizon now for iOS and Android.

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