Over the Alps () is a traditional choose-your-own-adventure type of game. The game is set in Switzerland circa 1939 and you will be playing as “Agent Smith”, clearly a moniker, as you are a spy for the British government. Unsurprisingly, that means you’ll find yourself in a story of betrayal, heartbreak, misinformation, sleuthing, fighting, and chases, but also, refreshingly, one of care, romance, beauty, and exploration.
The entirety of the four acts you’ll play through will take you around four or so hours, one per act. Your options will be clearly marked to help determine the type of character you wish to have and you’ll acquire traits based on these options. You can choose to be honorable or cadish, dashing or aloof, and fearless or dramatic. While I found myself gravitating towards mostly honorable and dashing answers, I also ended up using quite a few answers from other categories. One good thing about this game is that you’re never locked away from one choice or another. You can choose based on these categories or simply on what you think the best answer might be for that situation. It’s a simple system and one I found myself enjoying.
The game is not all about those choices, though. You’ll also find yourself pretty early on in a rush away from the police. Thanks to a cunning rival, you’re on their radar and must find your way out of each area as quickly or safely as possible. You can make choices to steal bikes or cars, which is risky but will often get you to where you’re trying to go quickly. It’s important to weigh safety and speed, while also trying not to leave behind clues for authorities to obtain information. In short, don’t make a scene. More than once, I found the police literally in the same city as me and let’s just say that that’s not an optimal moment.
Throughout the game, you’ll also find yourself meeting a whole host of people. You’ve, of course, got the damsel in distress, Miss Luisa Vercoli; her aloof father, Primo; your spy rival whom I will leave up to surprise; the intelligent and confident puppet of the Nazi’s; and a few other friends and foes. Each one definitely has their own purpose in this game and feels like a new and different character. They all have sides they wish not to share and you may even uncover a few. I found this to be very enjoyable and interesting as you never really know who to trust, which is just what you want with a thrilling spy story.
After each of your outings in an area, you’ll be shown a report by Control, your handlers. This’ll include mostly how close the police are to catching you. Long story made short, don’t get caught or Control will have to clean up your mess and they won’t be happy. You’ll lose trust with them, which is something you’ll find to be important later on. The same is true of other characters, too. Try to remain on people’s good sides as long as it lines up with your own interests, otherwise you might find things becoming much harder in the future acts.
The graphics and sounds of Over the Alps really were fantastic. In fact, everything given in the game helped to immerse me deeper into the story. Character expressions will change based on how they feel about the agent I’ve created, the music will become rushed and hurried if the police are hot on my trail, there are vibrant colors, dark sewers, pristine mountains, and so very much to see. Every area left an impression on me and never did I feel like it was monotonous. Controls, too, are as simple as they come with just a few drags and taps. You won’t find yourself having to press buttons or tap as fast as you can to open this door or shoot that villain. It’s almost entirely a point-and-click story.
To sum up, Over the Alps is a fantastic game. It has a believable story, realistic characters, a great setting, several hundred different choices, multiple endings, a great balance between relaxing discovery and hard-pressed action, and emotional moments that make you feel. I cannot recommend this game enough for anyone that enjoys a good story, especially about spies and overcoming fascism.
NOTE: Over the Alps is available on mobile exclusively as part of Apple Arcade, a premium gaming subscription service from Apple. Without being a subscriber to Apple Arcade you cannot download and play this game. Apple Arcade is $4.99 per month and does come with a free one month trial, you can learn more about it on Apple’s official website or by visiting our dedicated Apple Arcade forum.