068947_largerAs an old fart who has been gaming since the birth of the home console, I have to admit that my eyes light up when I see a game as gorgeously retro as Kid Tripp [Free]. Once upon a time, 120x80 resolution was considered laughable in the high definition world of systems such as the NES and Commodore 64, an age where more pixels, more colors, more sound channels and more, well more of everything was better.

In this modern age of gaming, however, when consoles have pretty much reached the limits of what is possible with sound, and are following suit with the visuals, many folk are looking back at the chunky games of old with newly found fondness. There may be a heap of retro-styled games in the App Store, but Kid Tripp doesn't only look retro, it plays retro, despite making use of modern play mechanics that revolve around the touch screen.

At first glance, Kid Tripp appears to be your standard fare, Mario-styled platformer. Jump into the game, however and you'll soon find that it is a crossbreed of traditional platformer and modern endless runner. Remember Sega's Wonder Boy aka Adventure Island? Kid Tripp pretty much plays just like that game when Wonder Boy has collected the skateboard power-up - you run from left to right, jumping and shooting as the screen scrolls automatically. Unlike Wonder Boy, in Kid Tripp you have no left and right movement control, other than running (more on that soon).

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There are other nods to Sega's classic platformer, such as the spiders that crawl up and down their silken ropes to the garden snails dotted about the stages, as well as nods to other famous Sega platform games. Sonic The Hedgehog is instantly recognizable as being a heavy inspiration for the level art, and even Kid Tripp himself bears a slight resemblance to Alex Kidd... well... they both have rather large heads, anyway.

On top of the beautiful, multi-levelled parallax backgrounds and silky smooth frame rate is a chirpy, authentic chiptune soundtrack, well and truly setting the mood for some 1980s fun times. There are downsides to the presentation, such as no native 4-inch widescreen support and even the iPad version suffers from small borders, though this is because of the game's original resolution of 120 by 80 pixels being uniformly scaled up. True widescreen support is in the works but still a ways off, but at the very least the black borders do accept touch input, so it stands as a strictly cosmetic problem and doesn't hinder play in any way.

mzl.secwqcgtMovement to the right is automatic, and to control Kid you tap the left side of the screen to jump and tap the right to fire off a projectile. On top of shooting, the right side of the screen is used to speed Kid up by holding down your finger. It's not particularly obvious at first that running is even possible, in fact the developer let me in on that little bit of information as he felt he hadn't made it clear enough in the current build of the game. It's a crucial mechanic though, and is required for leaping the larger gaps found in later levels. The way running works also means you can't run and shoot at the same time, which can add to the difficulty.

Play-wise, it's the usual story - jump gaps, navigate moving platforms and whack enemies in the head with a stone, or leap onto them, Mario-style. This sounds easy, but remember: you have very little control over Kid's speed, so you have to attempt every leap and attack at the whim of the CPU, leaving no room for a breather. I found my heart rate jumping sky-high on multiple occasions playing through Kid Tripp... and be warned, if you're not into the classic gaming style of 'starting from the beginning, failing, remembering, getting a bit further, failing again and repeating until finished', Kid Tripp isn't for you. It can be an extremely frustrating experience, especially when you almost reach the end of a stage, get wiped out and then find yourself struggling with the earlier obstacles that had already given you so much grief on previous runs.

If you're the competitive type, Kid Tripp offers several leaderboards to compete on. Coins collected during play aren't used for anything in particular, but they reset each time you continue. So if you can manage to beat the entire game straight through without dying, you can compete on the Coin leaderboard. The same goes for a leaderboard for total completion time and one for the number of deaths you incur during the game. Finally, there's a leaderboard that tracks the number of times you've completed the game, and there's a set of 12 Game Center achievements to earn too.

One devastating oversight in the game design is how it saves progress. I'd reached near the end of the game, after many a life being lost, and I decided I'd try playing the game from the beginning so I could better my score, as I'd noticed there was the option to play from any completed level, as well as to "continue" my current run. I knew if I started from the beginning that I wouldn't be able to continue the game I'd been playing but that was fine, as I'd be able to jump in and play the later levels anyhow.

I was wrong. Starting over wiped all my progress, even in the level select screen. I understand deleting your current game but why wipe the levels I've already completed? I cried for so many days I went back in time. Luckily, the levels are short and aren't randomly generated  (unlike most modern runner games), so I was able to catch up to myself relatively quickly.

To be good at Kid Tripp, it's simply a matter of having a strong memory, quick reflexes and a dump-truck load of determination. If you're up to the challenge, Kid Tripp is a sometimes brutally hard, yet incredibly rewarding little platform runner.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Jesse7277

    This game makes me so angry that I love it.

  • pixelpowa

    Hey all, I'm the developer. If you have any questions feel free to shoot them my way!

    "Starting over wiped all my progress, even in the level select screen. I understand deleting your current game but why wipe the levels I've already completed?"

    Ah man, I apologize for this. After you've beaten the game starting over won't wipe your progress, but I overlooked the possibility of people starting a new game beforehand. I will fix this in the next update.

    Just like to also mention that the widescreen update is coming along much faster than anticipated, and I'll also be adding fullscreen support on iPad.

    Cheers, thanks for the review!

    • Jesse7277

      Thank you for such an infuriatingly fun retro platformer.

    • cowtruck123

      I think there should be something explaining the controls in the beginning, as i didn't know for a log time that you could hold on the right side of the screen to run...

      • LOLCAT

        I didn't figure that out until I read this review :P

      • pixelpowa

        Yeah, that was definitely my biggest mistake. I'll take care of that in the next update as well. :)

      • LOLCAT

        Awesome game though. I've almost made it through the second world! :D if you're taking suggestions, an endless mode would be AMAZING. (Though I doubt I would make it very far...)

      • cowtruck123

        An endless mode would really add to the games length!

      • cowtruck123

        Which sounds fun too

      • pixelpowa

        Lots of people have been asking for that and I've toyed with the idea in the past. Maybe a ways down the road!

      • Magnalon

        Honestly? I like that there's no explanation. It adds an old school feel to it, and really...there's just two buttons that perform three actions ;D

        Maybe just a *quick* look at the controls screen!

      • pixelpowa

        Yeah I really, really, REALLY wanted to get away with not having any tutorials of any kind, but a crazy low percentage of people are figuring this out for themselves, and it's such an important mechanic that I really can't keep ignoring that.

        Someone cleverly suggested I do it with in-game signs on the first level, but I think the resolution is a bit too low to be able to convey that clearly enough.

        But yes, however I do it, it'll be very brief and as unobtrusive as possible. :)

      • pdSlooper

        Problem is, with old school games, you just had a controller with a limited number of buttons, and a limited number of ways to use those buttons. It's easy to know where to start. Plus there were a number of conventions that everyone followed (start button pauses, D-pad controls movement but not jumping, X button opens menu, etc.)

        On the other hand, there's a huge number of ways of interacting with a touch screen, *none* of which are obvious without some sort of contextual hints or outright explanation -- visual (arrow "buttons", or the suggestive grid of a crossword puzzle) or textual. Also, there are very few conventions followed (pinching to zoom in and out is possibly the only gesture that is truly consistent across all apps, although a single tap to move/select is common.)

    • 21tigermike

      This game looks like a beautiful, retro, impossible game. Confirm or Deny? ;)

      • pdSlooper

        > Confirm

  • Andy C83

    My first run through I ended up with 650 odd deaths, haha. Don't worry, I've improved significantly since then. ;)

    • pixelpowa

      Haha, no kidding.

      Enjoy your top spot while it lasts, I will reclaim my throne!

      • Andy C83

        Bring it, don't sing it.

      • oooooomonkey

        How on earth did you do it with only 6lives?! Crazy

  • Adan Santos

    How the hell did this get approved? Obviously what Apple said about not approving apps that didn't support iPhone 5 screen is BULLSHIT.

    By the way, developers who create 'pixelated' games are just lazy, cause it's easier and cheaper!

    • shaver

      How's your widescreen, BDRF-lit game coming?

      • dancj

        Now I'm torn. Obviously Adan Santos's complaints are a load of bollocks. In the other hand, so is the old "yeah, we'll of like to see you try" response.

        You don't have to be able to produce the art to realise someone else's art is crap - but retro graphics is obviously a choice rather than laziness.

      • shaver

        I don't object to the dislike, but of the characterization. Adam chooses not to build any games, and Pixelpowa chooses to build pixel games. Who's lazy in that scenario? I have a bit of a hair trigger about "don't do it if you can't make it perfect", independent of the fact that it's basically the only correct aesthetic choice for a retro platformer.

      • Adan Santos

        I'm not a games developer. However, I do enjoy games that look good. I have even enjoyed somewhat pixelated games like Random Heroes 2, but this one just takes it to a whole new level of pixelation.

      • wigzisonfire

        You are not only 'not a games developer' you are not a human. You are a sweaty, greasy, vein ridden over sized scrotum.
        You opinion is completely invalid. All you can do is throb and seep. Don't secrete your pathetic opinion ever again.
        This game is boss, the graphic are awesome and the gameplay has been tweaked to perfection.
        Get off your lazy ass and make a better game of you don't like this. Btw, have you even played it or have you generated you squalid opinion from looking at a few screens?! Bellend.

      • Adan Santos

        What a charming person... er, no wait, not a person.

      • wigzisonfire

        Your picture is making my day right now! Its like the good lord forgot to give you eyes when he made you and accidentally placed two sphincters in their place (x_x)

    • Jesse7277

      You sound like a real nice person....... -_-

      • Adan Santos

        No, I am a 'really fed up of sub par looking games' person.

      • LOLCAT

        The retro style is not sub-par looking--just different. A lot of people, myself included, enjoy good, colorful 8-bit artwork. I suppose it's just a matter of taste.

      • Adan Santos

        Besides being a matter of taste, it is a matter of 'easier' and 'cheaper'. There is just no denying that a lot less work goes into a retro looking game.

      • LOLCAT

        You are right, but I have a feeling that this is not the main reason why the devs went for retro. And considering the large amount of successful titles with retro graphics on the App Store, there appears to be some demand for it. The review obviously enjoyed them, for one.

      • mr_bez

        Less work MAY go into the graphics (not sure that's always true), but that doesn't mean that less work has gone into the game. I certainly don't think it's true here.

        I've read elsewhere that the dev has spent two years perfecting the mechanics and it shows.

        The level design in this has clearly been iterated to perfection - there's no padding and every bite-sized level feels genuinely different.

        I'll choose gameplay over graphics every time.

      • Adan Santos

        I'll chose gameplay AND graphics.

      • Protoman

        What are good graphics?

      • prime31

        Easier and cheaper, huh. So, you are a game developer and an artist now? Have you ever even bothered to make some pixel art to compare? Have you any experience with vector and non-pixel bitmap art? You do realize that it is an entirely different art style where each and every pixel is placed one by one. It is a skill few have mastered and it takes much time to perfect.

        If you don't like pixel art that is your opinion and that is fine. Just don't go spouting off random dribble when you have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Adan Santos

        *Yawn*

      • themostunclean

        *Slap*

      • Adan Santos

        *Whatever*

      • themostunclean

        You're either extremely ignorant or just a troll a-hole. A lot of these guys work with only a couple of partners or alone and have regular jobs. They develop games in their limited free time and on a shoestring budget or with existing and limited resources. They're just doing it for the love of gaming and to create something that other people can enjoy.

      • Adan Santos

        Oh for the love of god, stop flaming... it's really boring now :-)

      • themostunclean

        Not trying to. It's fine if you don't like the style/genre but comments about how cheap or lazy it is are just plain ignorant if you haven't even done it yourself.

      • Protoman

        Not flaming, just an honest question. You breast fed really late into life weren't you?

      • drwifflesniffle

        Go play COD then, get out of here.

    • Uli Troyo

      Why even bother commenting? You're not adding anything to the conversation. As it happens, there are plenty of people who enjoy retro pixel art, myself included. If you're not one of these people, why are you even here? There are over 900,000 apps in the App Store. Kid Tripp isn't particularly representative of the games out there. Go find something else to do, homie.

    • Zeldaniac

      In SOME cases, it is easier to make a retro game, and in SOME cases it is a result of laziness. These points are correct, but not always. I doubt this game fits either.

    • Taclys

      It's hard to comprehend your stupid right now. Seriously. Some games simply don't need or want 'better graphics'. It's not lazy, it's a clear developer choice. Have you ever made pixel art? It's not exactly easy. Especially at this caliber.

      The graphics of a game are mostly irrelevant anyways. So long as the graphics support the gameplay, that's all you need. Go make your own game if you're so confident.

    • themostunclean

      Typical "I'm behind a keyboard so I can spew whatever nasty crap I want to and not worry about repercussions because I'm a pathetic little bitch in real life" behavior.

    • toxiccheese

      Just so you know, creating pixel art is not easier or cheaper. I have been a digital artist for over 20 years. I have worked with many countless styles and I can tell you from experience that all art styles require a certain amount of research, knowledge, and skill. I have created art for many nationally and internationally recognized companies and game developers and never once has it been as easy as clicking a button. Everything from style, color scheme, aesthetics, font usage, size ratios, etc, etc, needs to be considered. It's so easy to assume that a pixel art style is cheap and easy, but just because it has a limited color palette and less detail does not mean there is less work or forethought involved.

  • shaver

    There's actually still a lot of room for fidelity improvements in audio, even on beefy PCs. Three-dimensional (or even two-dimensional) dynamic simulation of environmental interaction is still producing a lot of interesting research.

    • Chester_Copperpot

      Guess it depends on what "fidelity" means to you. As far as playing back recorded audio, 24-bit hardware enables enough leeway to use digital volume control and DSP effects without compressing the dynamic range or raising the noise floor. That and today's hardware is capable of higher than CD sample rates. I assumed that's what the reviewer was talking about.

      More dynamic audio generation wouldn't really fit my usual use of "fidelity", but it does sound exciting.

      Not really arguing with you, just kind of pointing out the other side of the semantic fence.

  • hourglass

    You say that we've reached the limits of what we can do with audio and graphics, but those are improved every damn year.

  • The Nothing

    Santos, are you also fed up with being a horrible person? Go shave your ass..

  • Cookies

    Gotta ask, how much longer until we get some more actual platformers and not runners? I know I sound like an entitled idiot, but these games (another example being 1-bit ninja or sort of Mirror's Edge) look really nice, and play smoothly, but by removing half the control of the game you just ruin the experience. Mutant Mudds was an incredible example of doing old school platformers right, like these it had nice looks and was really smooth, but it had full controls without messing up the awesome difficulty and it just feels sooo much better.

    I enjoyed this game, but it just doesn't compare to a full platformer. Maybe that's just me.

    • Chester_Copperpot

      It's not just you. This looks like a nice game and I wish the dev success, but I'm gonna pass. I just don't enjoy auto-runners.

    • pixelpowa

      I think you'll start seeing quite a bit more of that kind of platformer once the MFi controllers start hitting. I plan to support them in Kid Tripp myself.

      I did have a couple reasons not to include virtual controls, though. Firstly, you wouldn't be able to sprint and jump simultaneously; I'd have to make sprinting automatic, which would take away some of the fun of speedrunning levels and also remove the penalty for spamming, and the current method would become inferior. It's very leaderboard-driven, so that kind of consistency is important. Secondly, many sections require you to elongate your jump and simultaneously throw rocks, which would be impossible using only a single thumb on a touchscreen.

      So without physical buttons that can be pressed simultaneously, manual movement just wouldn't work for this game.

      • Cookies

        Yeah, I understand (and had apparently forgotten) the limitations of a touchscreen. Your reasons though are perfectly sound, so I can't really complain, and thanks for replying.

        I'll look forward to what you can do with a controller in the future!

      • Chester_Copperpot

        I'm probably missing something, not having played your game, but couldn't you emulate an analogue stick by having the player drag or roll their thumb away from the center of the D-pad to activate the sprint? What's the penalty for spamming rocks?

        For the leaderboards, you could have separate rankings for separate control schemes, in effect giving the game a couple of play modes.

        Thanks for taking the time to explain your reasoning.

      • Chester_Copperpot

        Meant to add that I just got around to watching the video and I think I'll buy. It exudes too much nostalgia-candy to pass on.

        As an added bonus, I can spite Adan Santos by supporting a 'lazy' dev. :)

        Do you plan to do any left/right capable platformers in the future?

      • pixelpowa

        Awesome, hope you have fun! And oh yes, I have lots of ideas for left/right platformers.

      • pixelpowa

        I probably could include a virtual analog stick, but it wouldn't be precise enough for this game, plus problem 2 would remain an issue.

        The penalty for spamming rocks is moving slower than if you were sprinting -- if you want to get the best time in a particular level, you have to figure out how to throw as few rocks as possible.

        I'd be even more hesitant to fragmentize the leaderboards. In the end, I think it'd just introduce way more issues than it's worth, so for now, no plans for virtual controls. :)

    • RamazAdelphos

      Try out Mikey shorts or Mikey Hooks which is coming out next week :)

  • Kloo13

    I love its old school style! If you are looking for a game with a retro style on iOS, try PixHELLanD. It's a super meat boy like realy amazing!

  • Deter Pinklage

    Did they rip levels off of the sonic games?

  • RamazAdelphos

    This game is amazing lol. From the GFX to the controls to the gamplay. I know alot of people don't like it but I love the auto run mixed with the old school platform style it makes it way more challenging. Because I'm only on world 1-5 lol it's such a challenging game which is good, it makes u think u didnt waste ur money :) so for anyone thinking about buying this game, buy it it's totally worth it.

  • Decoy_Octopus

    This game is nothing but a 2D Mario rip off and the controls are terrible. Guess you cant expect much for 99 cents though.

    • Taclys

      You...you didn't even read the review...good god.

  • Peter

    This game is fantastic. Looks great, plays great, is very challenging in a good way and the level design is incredibly well done (enemies and platforms are in the exact right spots they need to be to give you a fluid experience). I would give this game at least a 4.5 out of 5.

  • cowtruck123

    Love this game so much, but cannot beat 4-2 for the life of me :)

    • philadendron

      Wait until 4-5...

  • philadendron

    Thank you for making mention of the achievements, it's nice to know if a game has them or not before buying.

  • philadendron

    Seriously, this game gets better as you play it. Took me 450 deaths to beat it the first time, now I'm down to like 13. Super addicting, super fun. Thanks for a great game.

Kid Tripp Reviewed by Karl Burnett on . Rating: 4