Laya’s Horizon on Netflix makes flying exhilarating and relaxing

The game’s latest release on Netflix manages to capture the excitement of flying – while somehow turning it into something cool.

Laya horizon It is the latest game from Snowman, the studio known for snowboarding games such as Alto Odyssey. And in many ways, it’s an experience that builds on what the team has done in the past. Instead of climbing through procedurally generated 2D worlds, in laya skyline, Players fly across a hand-crafted 3D island full of secrets to uncover. It’s one of the best games to hit Netflix’s fledgling gaming service so far.

in laya skyline, You don’t exactly fly but, instead, get around using your wingsuit. You start out on a platform that overlooks much of the idyllic island where the game takes place, and from there, you can hop on and go, well, pretty much wherever you want. Laya horizon It has a very open structure. There are objectives to complete, and the game directs you in the direction of missions where you can enter races or meet up with characters. Eventually, you’ll unlock new headgear, each with their own characteristics to better suit your play style, and the ability to quickly move around the map.

These missions are nice and short, perfect for quick gaming sessions on your phone. But my favorite part of the experience is mostly ignoring them so I can explore the island. It’s a beautiful place, full of secluded villages, quaint quarries, and all sorts of other secrets that I won’t spoil. At the end of each trip you get a nice little summary of the land you covered and the things you found.

The most important part of Laya horizon Is that it’s nice to fly around. So even when I didn’t find anything new or complete any goals, I was still enjoying my time in the air in general. The game uses a unique control system where you can place both thumbs on either side of the screen. Drag them both down to rise, push them up to dive down, and tilt your thumbs to point them left or right. You can even pull it out to create a parachute and slow it down. When you rush down a waterfall or jump off the ground, it’s an impressive white experience. But when you’re above it all, and you take in the surroundings, Laya horizon Quite peaceful.

“We didn’t necessarily know how long it would take and how big it would end up being.”

Installing these controls was one of the most challenging parts of making the game. According to designer Jason Medeiros, one of the goals was to create a control scheme that relates more naturally to what your character does on screen. “I was interested in exploring motor controls that feel embodied, where your brain is tricked into ‘yeah, I’m doing the thing,'” he explains.

Laya horizon It has been in the works for some time, with development starting in 2018. This was inspired in part by a fascination with extreme sports such as wingsuit surfing as well as the freedom offered by games such as early 3D games grand theft auto titles, where some of the most fun guys in the world were messing around with helicopters.

“The wingsuit idea has been around for more than 10 years,” says Ryan Cash, co-founder of Snowman. And in May of 2018, we decided to actually start working on it. And like a lot of our titles, we didn’t necessarily know how long it was going to take and how big it would end up being…and we probably wouldn’t have started on the game if we’d known how long it was going to take. .”

Part of what took so long was the scale: This was the studio’s first attempt at the large open world genre. “We loved the idea of ​​crafting this space where we can hide secrets and you’ll learn about them the more and more you visit,” Cash explains. “But[this]also presented a host of production challenges.”

“Maybe our biggest project”

But despite no Much different from, and more ambitious than Alto series, much of the same design threads run through both. There’s more of a candid story this time around thanks to all the characters you can chat with, however no It’s also filled with less obvious storytelling, as you learn more about the world just by discovering more of it and looking at the details. It’s the kind of narrative that you can really dig into if you’re interested or ignore it entirely if you want to. Likewise, the game has a quest structure Alto Fans will be familiar with the similar aesthetic, right down to the soothing adaptive soundtrack.

“We’re both excited and a little nervous, honestly,” Cash says. “It’s probably the largest project we’ve ever built here in Toronto and it’s been through five years of development and started with a really small team, has grown into a fairly large team. “

Laya horizon Available for free to Netflix subscribers at iOS And android on May 2.

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