Last week, we got wind that animator and designer David O'Reilly, famous for his work on Spike Jonze' Her, Adventure Time, and shorts like The External World, was submitting his first game to the App Store. In a rare Tuesday morning release, Mountain [$0.99] is now available.

OReilly describes his game as a "mountain simulator" and "relax 'em up." When he announced the game at Horizon earlier this year, he explained that "it's designed to run in the background like it's part of your desktop. You can do other things while you're playing or interacting with Mountain." (The PC and Mac versions of the game were also released today, and also cost a meager $0.99.)

I've played Mountain for about fifteen minutes, just long enough to generate a verdant green spike with a cratered peak. Eventually, a thunderstorm rolled in and a swarm of neon fireflies emerged from the sparse pine forest that took root on one side of the mountain. You can rotate your tiny spherical existence on a few different axes or zoom out far enough to see your place in the cosmos. A tiny little music system is situated at the bottom of the screen, which apparently speeds up time.


OReilly promises at least 50 hours of totally procedural content, but there is an "end." (Maybe the heat death of the universe?) Oh, and the specifics of your mountain are in part determined by a set of drawings you'll be asked to do the first time you launch the app. Don't do like I did and skip them.

"The drawings influence things like the shape of the mountain, the type of vegetation, the amount of vegetation, the length of your summers, the amount of snow you’re going to get, all sorts of different things," OReilly explains.

If nothing else, Mountain is serene and calming, beautiful in its in indifference and steadfastness. Maybe that's the point: once you generate one snow-capped crag, that's it. You don't get a re-do, so you may as well learn to accept your lot. After all, you're just a pile of dirt in the universe.

  • dylanmannen

    Gonna download this right now, looks and sounds cool! おもしろいです

  • rewind

    Joseph, you are over-thinking it. This is really just a guy who's trying to charge us $0.99 to put a mountain on our screen. It's just another of the many App Store ripoffs.

    • Goggles789

      Well said.

    • Design by Adrian

      I'm not saying it's a must-buy for everyone, but he did spend many days and hours building this.

      • DemoEvolved

        The time spent making something in no way suggests its value. There is no star for effort. 2048 was made in a day.

      • Design by Adrian

        I guess you are a manager and not a developer.

      • rewind

        Well I am neither a manager or a developer. I am an average guy with an iOS device. And the developer should be targeting the consumers, which he has failed to do.

      • Design by Adrian

        Maybe he targeted his target group, in which you don't belong?

  • Goggles789

    Just gave it a try expecting something fun. Boy was I disappointed. It would have been cool to have some kind of interaction or world building or something. But, I just wasted a dollar on some stupid attempt at being artsy. Should have known better.

    • Design by Adrian

      How's this compared to Koi Pond? 😉

      • Goggles789

        Compared to a koi pond? Nature is always a million times better than any video game, so I'm not sure what you're getting at there...

      • Jay G

        Not A koi pond...Koi Pond the game.

      • Goggles789


      • Jay G

        If you were going for a joke the first time, it failed miserably. Since we don't know you IRL, and this is the internet, most people would just assume that you misunderstood the question...or are stupid.

      • Goggles789

        Or that I've never heard of Koi Pond, the game. Sheesh.

    • lll Anubis lll

      You're just mad because you suck at the game. Go back to playing Call of Duty.

      I'm just kidding in case that wasn't obvious.

      • Goggles789

        God, thank you for that. Needed a laugh, today!

  • Adsinjapan

    Keep at it people! I love this relax 'em up!

    It gets a little weird, I must say.

    So far my mountain has two anvils fly from the cosmos to wedge into my peak, and a giant CD just lodged itself into my side.

    • MrAlbum

      Woah.... that's just plain ridiculous XD

  • Luciano1084

    I'm hoping with a future update David allows us to interact with the mountain.. If not what's the point here? Definitely disappointed.. If you want to stare at a mountain this app is for you

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  • Goggles789

    Shit, it just dawned on me what this developer is possibly getting at. He thinks that modern gaming is too complex, and is trying to create an offering that hints at something simpler. While I agree with the possibility of that notion, he did it wrong and made something that is just on the other end of the spectrum and is too simple. It's also possible that this is just another social experiment. How many people can he get to, watch this game? How many people will actually rave about it? Bah, this is silly...

  • FreezeFrozen

    I love to try games when they are different & they bring us something never seen or felt before. I think this one does. But can we still call it a game ?

  • marolo

    Actually the first mistake is calling this a game. It's interaction is minimum, and there are no goals to achieve. This is just an app with some cool graphics and an interesting concept, I could say that it is media art.