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The Alto games are no longer free, but these two indie games are

Alto's Odyssey has ended its run as a free download, but Prune and Mini Metro are still available.

Jason Hiner VP & Editor in Chief of ZDNET
Jason Hiner is Vice President and Editor in Chief of ZDNET. He was formerly Senior Editorial Director of CNET Advice and Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic.
Jason Hiner
3 min read
Screenshot by Jason Hiner/CNET

UPDATE: The two Alto games are no longer free, but Prune and Mini Metro (mentioned below) are still free downloads for today.

Alto's Odyssey, and its precursor Alto's Adventure, have long been known for their calming music, hypnotic gameplay and generally soothing vibes. Some users have reported that the games have helped fight anxiety and panic attacks or provided comfort while in the hospital recovering from illness or injury. Since the global community is in the midst of such a stressful time due to the coronavirus outbreak, the creator of the two Alto games made both Alto titles available to download for free across all Apple devices through midnight pacific time on Tuesday, March 24.

You can find the games here: 
iPhone, iPad, Apple TV: Alto's OdysseyAlto's Adventure
Mac: Alto's Odyssey, Alto's Adventure

The games typically cost $4.99 on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV and $9.99 on Mac. Buying one of the titles on iPhone, iPad or Apple TV gets you access to all three platforms. However, buying the games on the Mac App Store is a separate charge. 

"These games have been out for a while now and we've heard from a lot of our players that the games help them cope with tough times," said Ryan Cash, CEO of Snowman, which created the Alto games. "And this is certainly a tough time that we're all facing. We're in a position where we can afford to give it away for free for a week. It's a way that we can try to contribute, even if it helps just a little bit. It felt like the right thing to do."

Alto's Adventure originally launched in February 2015 and Alto's Odyssey arrived three years later in February 2018. Both games involve snowboarding adventures where one of the characters glides downhill avoiding obstacles, collecting coins and doing flips and other fun tricks. The low-key soundtrack mixes pleasant sounds and relaxing music. The whole atmosphere provides a refreshing contrast to a lot of video games that tend to be loud and a little overstimulating. 

Read more: Apple Arcade is playing to win

Both Alto titles have been among the most popular mobile games of all time. In my book, Alto's Odyssey is one of the best video games of all time on any platform, period. It's a one-button wonder that's easy for anyone to learn how to play in a matter of minutes. But it's also difficult enough to master that there are many, many hours of enjoyable gameplay in it. And the fact that you can play the typical game in less than five minutes makes it just as enjoyable for adults as for kids

I also have to tip my hat to Cash and the Snowman team for putting a Zen Mode in both games where you can play endlessly without dying and just enjoy a stress-free version of Alto that acknowledges how many fans like to just put on a set of headphones, enjoy the games' relaxing vibes and use it to chill out for a little bit.

Making both Alto games free for a week -- Snowman made them free starting on March 17 -- was a great opportunity for more people to enjoy this 21st-century mode of relaxation during these anxious days of social distancing and sheltering in place.

On Android, Alto's Odyssey and Alto's Adventure were already available for free, since they are ad-supported on Android devices.

Two other popular indie games also joined Alto to make their games free to help entertain people during social distancing -- Prune and Mini Metro

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