July 25, 2013 12:13 PM | John Polson
English may not be Chia-Yu and Lee-Kuo Chen's native language, but the poetry of A Ride into the Mountains in motion and in play easily excuses that for me. A Ride into the Mountains for Android and iOS feels like a magical combination of Shadow of the Colossus and Zelda, focusing on the adrenaline one could experience riding and fighting enemies and bosses on a horse.
The gameplay consists of tilting the device to dodge with the horse, while sliding back with a finger controls the aiming. An additional finger tap initiates the later learned "focus" ability, useful for when the wind is blowing in different directions and enemies hide behind walls.
The adventure involves riding in the mountain to retrieve a relic stolen by an evil force which has caused darkness to spread. The game isn't so evil itself, as mobile games seem to require, respawning the character before each most recent enemy encounter along the journey. There are plenty of enemies of all shapes to shoot, some with different attacks to repel.
Bosses are multi-layered, often requiring several shots to get to their core to deplete their life bar. Along with the satisfaction of taking down a challenging boss, each stage ending rewards you with a new ability or additional health.
Developer Lee-Kuo Chen tells me the upbeat, ambient music was made using the Otomata sequencer, and I agree that it successfully captures what Lee-Kuo describes as "a feeling of adventuring or riding." With the sequencer, he said "We freely adjust the tempo and the cells to let the music fit the theme. For example, if the stage is hill, we created a ascending feeling with high tempo; if the stage is lake, we make it more mysterious with low tempo."