There's a lot of Canabalt in ALONE. It's a ridiculously fast paced one-finger auto-runner with gorgeous graphics that's set in a world that's collapsing all around you.
It magnificently captures the desperation of being a tiny speck of life in a giant space that's trying to kill you.
And it's painfully addictive. The bite-sized runs stitch themselves together into hours-long play sessions as you push that little bit further to beat your high score and unlock more of the game.
You play a tiny spaceship careering through a cavern that's falling to bits around you. You move up and down by sliding a finger anywhere on the screen.
The controls are sharp and remarkably precise. Swipe too far and you'll smash into a wall, ending your run instantly.
You can take a couple of hits from smaller rocks, and your two-section life bar recharges if you manage to avoid any further smashes for a few seconds.
It makes for a deliriously fast experience that demands zen-like concentration if you want to succeed. Later on you'll face rockets and other hazards, all telegraphed by a yellow flashing dot a few seconds before they appear.
Beginning in an ending
The simplicity of ALONE makes playing it a joy, and there's a slickness to the production that entices you in after only a handful of seconds.
This is a game that challenges you from the first second, but that never feels unfair or cheap. It's a sharp arcade experience wrapped around a brilliant sci-fi aesthetic that offers more pure play in its short bursts than many other smartphone games can muster in their entire runtime.ALONE is the sort of game that lodges itself effortlessly into your brain. It's difficult but forgiving, brief but engrossing, and showcases some of the best ideas that mobile gaming has to offer.