Updates For Mountain Add Cool Items And Extra Features... But The Haters Keep Hating

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 25 August 2014
Category: Features
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Mountain, the game that gave reviewers all over the world an existential crisis last month, has recently received updates for iOS and desktop operating systems that not only fixed a few bugs but also added extra functionality and lots of new items. Additionally, last week the game was finally released on Steam and Amazon Apps, and for Android.

Updates For Mountain Add Cool Items And Extra Features

While a bunch of people who have never played Mountain continue to complain about how it's not a game and it's the end of the world for gaming (and so forth) actual owners of the "ambient procedural mountain game", as developer David OReilly likes to call it, have been delighted to receive two updates in the past month that have added new content and abilities.

(As I write this, a steel I-beam has just flown in from the far reaches of space and embedded itself in my second mountain, but more on that second mountain in a minute.)

Version 1.1: The Songbook
Besides a lot of new items and the ability to get rid of the clouds by shaking your mountain, the biggest noticeable change in version 1.1 was the addition of the Songbook menu, which lists modes that you've unlocked using music. It's accessible via an icon on the right once you've unlocked your first mode and allows you to toggle them on and off without having to remember the music codes.

Updates For Mountain Add Cool Items And Extra Features

OReilly hinted about the importance of music on his blog and on Twitter by sharing the Snowglobe Mode code and the Blood Mode code (Blood Mode is pictured above on my first mountain, which had skulls and a plane) but gamers have subsequently found many more modes to play with. If you play the codes you'll likely recognise some of the tunes (including nursery rhymes, classical music, and Christmas carols), which may help you to think in the right direction for discovering even more modes.

The update fixed some bugs, added a widescreen option so you could use more of your screen, updated the thought system, tweaked the graphics, and changed how the game-save files work on your desktop computer (that's an undocumented update that I noticed).

Updates For Mountain Add Cool Items And Extra Features

After having previously taken a bit of a break I started playing the game again after this update was released and immediately noticed a new kind of plant life growing on my mountain but for the most part I didn't receive any new items. I did, however, play around with the modes that I knew about at the time and just generally messed around with the keyboard to amuse myself and try and discover more hidden modes, though I didn't succeed.

What I did manage to achieve one evening, however, was a fast spinning mountain (its speed increases the more you play music), which resulted in fast weather patterns, colourful auras appearing around the ecosystem (they're visible from space if you zoom out), and occasionally rainbow auras.

I was happy. I thought my mountain was too.

Then, all of a sudden, the moment I had been dreading occurred - the annihilation moment. I knew there was a music keystroke that activates it (see the sidebar above), which I carefully avoided, but for a while there had also been whispers of the annihilation moment happening spontaneously, although no one seemed to be sure about it. I assumed that if it did it was your game's end-of-life event.

I was happily making rainbows when The Eye Of Annihilation, a piece of seemingly sentient debris from space, suddenly manifested and started heading for my mountain. Gamers have since discovered that you can prevent it by bashing the music keys to make the aura I had been making (which, it turns out, is the annihilation shield) but I didn't know this and assumed this was it (plus, I was curious to find out what might happen next). The Eye Of Annihilation moved closer and closer and, eventually, destroyed my mountain.

The game ended, and reset - but I could make a new mountain. So I did.

I was given new questions to answer in the form of drawings - the method by which you set up your mountain - and my new mountain was created. It was definitely a different mountain and I was starting again.

I played for a while but became frustrated because no items landed on my mountain. While I quite liked the pristine vegetation and lack of space junk, that wasn't the point at all. I played less and less, unsure as to what to do to get stuff to appear.

Meanwhile, the "reviews" kept coming:

Around the time of the version 1.1 update OReilly also announced new merchandise for the game that can be bought via Society6. He commissioned some of his favourite artists to produce works inspired by the game, which now appear on everything from T-shirts to framed art prints and stretched canvasses, iPhone and iPod cases, and skins for iPhones, iPods, iPads, and laptops.

Version 1.2: Moving Items Around
This update, which came out last week, added even more items as well as a great new feature that allows you to press and hold items on your mountain and move them around or stack them (using your finger on touchscreens or using the mouse on a desktop). It takes a little bit of practice because you can accidentally (or, once you know about it, purposefully) throw objects away into space but it's fun to be able to rearrange items either to make your mountain prettier or just to see what some of the things are as often they embed themselves so deeply that you can't tell what you're looking at.

I downloaded the update and jumped back into my game to see what was new. Almost immediately my mountain started to collect space debris, including one of the "coveted" pieces of junk, the red meteor, which has its own light source and glows. (There are a few items that are more interesting to collect, including some that have their own light source and a gramophone that plays music.)

Updates For Mountain Add Cool Items And Extra Features

I spent quite a bit of time just letting the mountain do its thing, mesmerised by the cool collection of stuff I was now getting, and then I went about unlocking all the modes I knew about. Soon, one by one, fish, frogs, and coins were raining down in the ecosystem, followed later by flames and hearts.

Other people got more creative:

For owners of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset this update included experimental support - it will be interesting to see what OReilly has planned for this - and a slightly different Android version of the game has also now been made available for owners of Amazon's Fire TV.

Since this was the update that also launched the Android, Steam, and Amazon Apps releases, customers who bought the game via the Humble store automatically received a Steam key for free (but unfortunately not the Android apk). The save file from your desktop version will also transfer to your Steam version.

The Steam release, naturally, also comes with Steam's game discussion forums, which means there's finally a place for fans to discuss gameplay, figure out some of the game's mysteries, and document Songbook tunes and the items you can possibly collect (over 70 have been documented so far), as well as just general fun tunes you can play on the keyboard to amuse yourself.

The useful discussion threads are, however, buried between many posts complaining about the game (and how it's not a game), most of which are by people who've never played it. It's amazing how people can become so invested in spreading negativity about something that doesn't actually concern them. If you don't want to play the game, don't play the game - the rest of us have been having hours of fun for a dollar, which is less than the price of a movie ticket - and it's quite obvious that OReilly is intending to make it even better and more interesting, so there's lots more to come.

Whether it's an art experiment that's a game or a game that's an art experiment, I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Tags: #games, #horror, #music

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