Quests in Alto’s Adventure

In this post I examine how Alto's Adventure quests are designed to keep the player engaged for a prolonged amount of time.

This is a repost from my personal blog.

Alto’s Adventure is an endless runner with a great sense of flow, tight controls, and it’s just very nice to play. What I really like about it, though, is how it handles quests. Quests/challenges are a very important part of an endless runner, because they bring variety and provide you with other goals than just to go as far as possible, thus influencing the way you play. Most of the time, at least in my experience, the quests in endless runners are random. Not in Alto’s Adventure, though, each set of quests for each level is specifically set.

And they’re set with certain thoughts in mind. Generally speaking, each quest in Alto’s Adventure can be divided in 3 categories:
1. Introduction to mechanicsș
2. Challenge meant to increase your skill;
3. Something that you’ve most likely done before already, or you know you can do for certain.

With the beginning of the game being an exception, the quest sets (made up of three challenges) always are a mix of categories 3, and 1/2 depending on the situation.

For example, here are quests for Level 15:
1. Backflip over a rock (by this point you’ve most likely done this numerous times)
2. Catch 25 llamas (challenge meant to increase your skill as by this point the average of llama’s caught is lower)
3. Rip 60 bunting flags in one run (something you’ve most likely done before)

So what happens is, the player gets to level 15, sees two of the new quests and thinks, ‘Oh, I can do that!’, so he plays and most likely will complete them in one run. But then we have the 25 llamas quest that can take more time and tries, but because 2 of the 3 quests would be completed by now, the player is driven to finish that one as well.

Let’s take a look at another set, for Level 11:
1. Land 3 backflips with Maya in one run
2. Land a 3x combo
3. Pick up 50 coins with the coin magnet

Maya is a new character that’s unlocked at level 11, so the quest is specifically tailored to show how she’s better at backflips than Alto. 3x combo is a little one one, by this point the player would’ve done bigger combos as they’d experiment with different tricks, so he’d be very confident about this quest. And 50 coins, this is a mix of something the player has done before and a challenge, and possibly a nudge into the workshop where you can use in-game coins to buy upgrades, like making the coin magnet last longer for example.

Last example, Level 16:
1. Catch a llama while hovering
2. Land a triple backflip
3. Bounce on a rock

Now, quest 3 is really easy, quest 1 is trickier, as it combines 2 things that the player has done before – hovering with the feather upgrade and catching a llama, but something that he most likely hasn’t done in combination, so it makes him play in a specific way when a feather is caught. And triple backflip is a challenge and quite a considerable one.

So each quest set reaffirms the player’s existing skills, provides some challenge for him to overcome and become better at the game, and when necessary introduces mechanics or certain specifics. Thus keeping him in a state of flow during and even between gameplay sessions. I personally find this very neat.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed the read, feel free to leave comments below, and I’ll see you next time!

If you’d like to follow updates on my blog, feel free to follow me on Twitter 
@farlander1991 :)

And if you’d like, consider supporting my work on Patreon! Thank you very much!

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