Game Reviews


Star onStar onStar onStar offStar off
| Mountain
| Mountain

I'm the kind of person that gets a kick out of watching a line of ants march back and forth while they collect their food, repair their nest, and do their daily ant-things.

Bonus points if they're retrieving food from a friendly source like a discarded lollipop, instead of a mashed squirrel carcass baking in the sun.

It therefore stands to reason that Mountain, created by talented writer, artist, and animator David O’Reilly, would speak to me.

It's an unorthodox app that lets you observe a mountain spinning in the middle of space. That's pretty much it.

You watch the seasons go by, maybe play a little tune on the invisible keyboard located at the bottom of the screen, and listen as the mountain occasionally rumbles some deep, baffling words of supposed wisdom.

Mountain is indeed unique. And it's curiously relaxing to behold. The thing is though, despite being an app that "challenges" you to sit back and watch the grass grow, there's not a whole lot to look at.

However, that may be a failing of the app's mobile format rather than a problem with Mountain itself.

Mountain sound

When you start up Mountain, you're asked to draw responses to text cues. Examples in my run-through of the game included "Father," "Money," and "Privacy."

The answers you give help form your own personal mountain, from its shape to its foliage. My mountain home was topped with a snow-cap that looked like a floppy fox that had been lobotomised through its back.

Once your mountain has been created, it spins slowly and endlessly through a void. You observe climate change, watch snow and rain fall, and marvel as fireflies light up the night with their bums. But you can't interact directly with your world.

If there is actually a God and he functions according to Mountain's rules, maybe he's not actually happy about watching us suffer. Maybe he's being forced to sit passively and sweat while the race he created takes a metaphorical drill to its also-metaphorical forehead.

Hallelujah, it's raining various objects

There's nothing wrong with "games" that put you in the observer's seat. It'd just be nice if Mountain offered more signs of life darting around its trees and grass. Tiny animals. Tiny civilizations. Maybe they eventually appear, but after hours of peering at my mountain, I didn't see a thing.

I did, however, bear witness to one of Mountain's more curious events: objects falling from the sky to embed themselves in the floating stone.

So far I've collected a park bench and a rock that looks unsettlingly like a black tumour laced with veins of radioactive blood.

More stuff would probably fall if I watched for longer, but that gets to the core of the problem with Mountain on mobile. The game is ill-suited for a device that turns on and off multiple times a day. It breaks up the flow of the mountain, and you're not offered a chance to really get attached to it.

Mountain likely works best as a desktop app (Mac / PC / Linux). That way, you can run it like a screensaver while attending to other online chores.

And then when a cow slams into your mountain, you'll be on-hand to fully appreciate the glorious event.


More of a simulator than a game, Mountain is peaceful and ambitious, but probably works better as a desktop app than a mobile one