'Alto's Odyssey' announced for February landing

"Alto's Odyssey" was first expected midway through 2017

A sequel to chilled-out snowboarding experience "Alto's Adventure" is arriving February 22 and, despite the potential for Winter Olympic synergy, opts for three new environments instead.

Toronto developer Snowman dropped "Alto's Adventure" in February 2015 to a wave of critical acclaim and popular success; an Android version debuted the following year.

As an endless runner, it provided players with a unique, procedurally generated side-scrolling snowscape to explore in every new play session.

Yet where other endless runners might have leaned into a cycle of player concentration, quick reactions, stress and momentary relief, "Alto's Adventure" managed to defy genre convention, providing a gentler, more relaxing experience.

Recognizing the value of this game's calming aspects, the Snowman studio rolled out a 2016 update that added a special Zen Mode, utterly devoid of scoring mechanisms and power-up items in order to provide an environment even better suited to relaxing, even reflective play.

Not to say there aren't challenges -- there are secrets to find, stunts to pull off, coins and animals to collect, characters to unlock, and trick scores to attain.

Now in 2017, Apple has given "Alto's Adventure" a featured spot on the US App Store's home page since February 8, a status that appears likely to last until its long-awaited sequel releases in a week's time.

But where "Alto's Adventure" majored on snowy themes -- an appropriate theme given the current 2018 Winter Olympics -- expansive sequel "Alto's Odyssey" swaps snow-capped mountain for three new environments.

Players will be sandboarding through desert dunes, rocky canyons, and a city dotted with temples, elements from one area blending into the next as progress is made.

Like its predecessor, "Alto's Odyssey" is being floated as a $4.99 flat purchase, and its full trailer, which was published nearly a year after a February 2017 teaser, ends with an invitation to pre-order the game ahead of a February 22 App Store release.