Category Archives: Platform

The topic of cloning can be broadly broken into two periods: before Michael Keaton's banner work of art, Multiplicity, and after. Oh, sure, in those heady days before 1996, we had some ideas. Waves were made by a sheep named Dolly, Spider-Man discovered that he looks good in a hoodie, Thomas Riker had shown us that a Riker's power is directly proportional to the size of his beard, and George Lucas had certainly written something about clones on a coffee-stained napkin. However, it wasn't until The Keats showed us all how it was done that cloning became truly appreciated as a fictional device, and we are all better for it. Video games have never been shy about dragging clones into the works, mostly because it was a good excuse to reuse art assets while creating a memorable boss fight. One of the best examples from the early days of gaming was in Prince of Persia [$1.99], where an encounter with a mirror created a doppleganger who would go on to help you with a few puzzles before you had to face off with him...

'Wind-Up Knight 2' Review - As Tightly-Wound As A Grandfather Clock

The original Wind-Up Knight [Free] was a great game and a fine example of how platformers, a genre many thought couldn't get along with touch controls, can work just fine on mobiles provided they're designed properly around the hardware. The mechanic of constantly moving forward while asking you to manage jumps, swings, rolling, and the shield gave you plenty to worry about without having to fuss around with a virtual directional pad, and the game made sure to test your skills at all of those things to the hilt. It boasted tons of levels, an assortment of collectibles, and plenty of goals to shoot for during play. It also apparently struggled at its initial price, because it was later retooled as a free-to-play experience, albeit a fairly generous one, since you could still unlock pretty much everything without paying a cent if you were skilled enough at the game...

Spider-Man video games act as little mini time capsules of the video game industry. I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's because they release so regularly and haven't found a unique voice the way Batman recently has with the Arkham series. As such, they tend to look to trends for inspiration, and we can see that pattern in many of the games. Maximum Carnage on the Genesis and SNES showed the popularity of belt-scrolling beat-em-ups in the 16-bit era. Spider-Man on the original PlayStation nicely demonstrated both the rise of polygonal graphics and their hard limitations via the poisonous gas that prevented you from going down to the streets. Spider-Man 2, no doubt riding on the back of Grand Theft Auto, introduced an open world, something that has gone as well with Spidey as anything ever could. Spider-Man 3 was a QTE fest, Web of Shadows used an awkward Bioware-style moral dichotomy, Shattered Dimensions had Arkham-style stealth levels, and the console Amazing Spider-Man had support for motion controls...

David [$0.99] is a curious little game. Recently, due to the release of the beautiful Monument Valley [$3.99], I've talked a bit about experience-focused games versus mechanics-focused games, but David seems to have one foot planted firmly in each camp. It's about as minimalist as one could possibly imagine, yet the most immediate comparison in terms of gameplay is considered a technical masterpiece for the hardware it runs on. The appearance of the game is incredibly simple, and its gameplay is as basic as moving, jumping, and shooting, but it still somehow manages to create a surprisingly complex and tense gameplay experience that pleases the senses...

Late last month, a very cool upcoming iOS game caught our eye. It was for an abstract, minimalist platforming game called David [$0.99] that, similar to its inspiration Shadow of the Colossus, had you engaging in a series of battles against massive bosses. The game was already available on Mac and PC, so I took that version for a spin and really liked what I saw, but I found myself wishing for the iOS version as it felt like a game that would actually be better on a touchscreen. Well, today I got my wish, as David has popped up in the App Store...

'Tiny Space Adventure' Review - Lost In Space

Point-and-click adventures don’t really fall under the descriptors “action-packed”, “fast-paced” or “adrenaline-fuelled.” Yet very often great games are singled out as so for these reasons alone. So when it comes to a decent point-and-click game, the factors are largely different. This can be anything from how the game looks, to the story it tells, and even the puzzle designs used within the game. Tiny Space Adventure [$0.99 / Free] is an example of a game that combines all of these elements; but what aspects in particular make this game such an enjoyable little package? ..

Combining some super addictive and challenging physics puzzling with four classes of the cutest zombies, Artifex Mundi’s Deadlings [$1.99] is a joy to play. In a similar fashion to Lemmings, you, as the player, must navigate each of the zombie babies around and across the most death-defying traps in an attempt to "train" your minions...

Dawn of Play’s Roll Back Home [$1.99] doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to tilt-based platformers. While it has a few tricks up its sleeve in regards to the physics puzzles you do eventually take on, I’d say it’s still pretty traditional as far as the genre goes. Combine it with an impressive showing of sketchbook visuals and some pretty catchy music, and that’s really all Roll Back Home needs to be a fun game worth downloading...

If you're somewhat new to the world of iOS gaming, it's possible you haven't heard about Chris Neveu's adorable little platformer Miss Claire Garden [$0.99], which launched way back in January of 2011. However, last week the game received a massive, long-overdue update, and if you somehow have missed out on the game before, now is the time to introduce yourself to Miss Claire. The game is largely built around the mechanic of picking up items and enemies that will be instantly familiar to fans of Super Mario Bros. 2, or at least the non-Japanese version of it (which is actually a game called Doki Doki Panic that was reskinned with Mario characters and released as Super Mario Bros. 2 outside of Japan). Miss Claire Garden takes the item-picking-up idea and runs with it, and the original 2011 release is considered by many to be one of the top platforming games on iOS...

I always enjoy it when a sequel makes a strong effort to surpass its predecessor without losing the core concepts that worked in the first place. Bloo Kid [$1.99], released in 2011, was a vaguely Bubble Bobble-like single screen platformer where you had to clear the screen of enemies by bouncing on their heads to finish each stage. The controls were pretty decent, the graphics were colorful and cute, and there were 84 stages with a few goals on each, so if you enjoyed it, there was a fair bit to chew on. That said, single screen platformers, while enjoyable, were knocked nearly into extinction when Super Mario Bros. first came around, approximately 25 years or so before Bloo Kid tried to get some attention with a fairly rote take on the concept. When Bloo Kid 2 [Free] popped up on my radar, I assumed that like many sequels, this was going to be little more than a level pack with a few new things stapled on at best...

One of my very favorite platformers, Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds [$8.99], is currently free on the App Store. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in January of 2012, Mutant Mudds made its debut on the App Store in December of that same year, and proved to be quite a hit. It's more of a slow-paced action platformer, as you'll need to take your time and make precise jumps in order to get past the many enemies in the game. It's very challenging, but also very satisfying. There's a hint of Metroidvania in it too, as you'll slowly unlock and upgrade new weapons and abilities that allow you to revisit previous levels and gain access to new areas. Finally, one of its key elements is the ability to jump in-between three levels of depth in the environment. There's a normal middle plane, a farther away plane in the background, and even an extreme close-up foreground plane. It's a neat effect, but it also ties into much of the puzzling and exploring in Mutant Mudds...

Ravenous Games first landed on people's radars with the awesome League of Evil [$1.99] a few years back, but it's pretty safe to say their output has been a bit of a mixed bag overall since. Looking at their last couple of releases, Random Runners [$0.99] was a complete misfire, and before that, League of Evil 3 [$1.99] was a pretty uninspired sequel. This developer is in need of a comeback, and I'm happy to report that at the very least, their latest title, Devious Dungeon [$0.99], shows slightly more creativity in concept than those two. It's more than a little similar in feel to their hit Random Heroes games, but the idea works far better here...

Ghost hats, packs of vicious dogs, and strutting ostriches. If you’re giving me a strange look, then you haven’t heard of Floyd’s Worthwhile Endeavour [Free], a platform game that utilizes a combination of magnificent 19th Century photography and bizarre elements to concoct one of the most eccentric and fascinating games you will ever lay eyes upon...

Ninja games! One might say there are not enough of them out there, if one were the sort of person who needed a new ninja game every hour of every day for the rest of one's life. It might seem silly that there are so many games featuring them, but like their equally overplayed colleagues, zombies, it's really just because they (or at least the pop culture image of them) fit video games almost perfectly. While zombies are great for letting a player cut loose on a crowd of human-like figures without any of the messy moral implications, ninjas are great shorthand for a nimble character who could potentially have any tools at his or her disposal. If a ninja pulls out a smoke bomb, we don't question it. If a ninja launches a grappling hook at the ceiling Batman-style, hey, it just works. Wall-jumping is really hard in real life, but if anyone can do it, a ninja can. Plus, they look really cool...

Perhaps because of how many of them are made, platformers have often turned to heavy usage of gimmicks to try to breathe some fresh air into things. Whether it's the closet full of special suits from Mario's adventures or the gravity-defying antics of VVVVVV, it's strangely more difficult sometimes to find a platformer that isn't packed full of novelties. There's nothing wrong with gimmicks, of course. When used well, they can make running and jumping from point A to point B feel like something you've never done before. Still, it's nice once in a while to play a game that gives you a straightforward run and jump through cleverly designed stages. Ava's Quest [Free] is just such a game. There are a few little gimmicks as you play through the game's 30 levels, but for the most part, the game simply focuses on using familiar elements to present you with a pleasant challenge. Oh, and to let you know up-front, you only get four stages for free. The rest are unlocked via an IAP for $1.99...

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