TouchArcade Game of the Week: 'Laya's Horizon'
When you get a new game from developer Snowman, you can pretty much expect that it's going to be an extremely stylish game. I mean Alto's Adventure and Alto's Odyssey speak for themselves, but throw in Skate City, Where Cards Fall, and Lucky Luna and, well, this is a studio places tremendous value on visuals and atmosphere. So when they started teasing their new game Laya's Horizon, it was not shocking in the least that it was looking to be another beautiful game. No surprises there. What did come as a surprise now that Laya's Horizon has launched on Netflix Games this week and I've actually gotten my hands on it is just how innovative this one is mechanically.
Laya's Horizon is a game about flight. You play as the titular Laya who has just finished her flight schooling and received her very first cape, which allows her to fly through the air just like a wingsuit. The game features a large open world and after guiding you through a quick tutorial or two you're pretty much set free to explore and accomplish missions as you see fit. Many of these are milestones you accomplish during flights, similar to the missions in the Alto games, and others are missions given to you by characters in the game. All of this contributes towards leveling up and unlocking new capes and trinkets which provide new benefits and abilities.
The core of Laya's Horizon is the flying and it uses an extremely tricky but extremely gratifying control system. You'll use two thumbs to mimic Laya's arms and by raising or lowering them in various ways you can bank, drift, float, dive, and pretty much maneuver just like a bird. Like I said though, it's tricky, and you'll likely have some frustrating times coming to grips with this control system. I have certainly seen people turned off to it at first, but stick with it and before you know it you'll be zipping around like it's second nature, almost not even having to think of what your thumbs are doing, more just reacting naturally as you navigate the terrain.
It is overwhelmingly satisfying to get to that point, and controlling Laya in the game feels like a natural extension of yourself, if that makes any sense. I love it. The large open world and seemingly endless supply of things to do and accomplish mean that you'll have fun just flying around but there's also always some purpose to it, if you want, and always something new to explore or achieve. I've really only scratched the surface I think and I already can't believe just how expansive this game is. If you're a Netflix subscriber absolutely download and give Laya's Horizon a try, but just keep in mind the learning curve and don't be so quick to give up because the payoff is majorly rewarding.