Okay, it’s not a universal app and is pretty hard to play on an iPad as a result, but Kero Blaster ($5.99) was still one of my favorite iOS games of 2014. A charming love letter to vintage action games with clever controls, Kero Blaster may not have had the same impact as Studio Pixel’s previous game Cave Story, but it’s not for want of quality. One of my few gripes with the game was that there wasn’t more of it, something Studio Pixel partly alleviated by releasing Pink Hour (Free), an iOS port of the PC pre-release demo that offers a short, original stage starring Pink, the office worker. It’s also a lot of fun, and really hard on top of that, but being intended as a demo, it was over fast.
Well, apparently if I keep holding out my plate, I get more Kero Blaster. Today, Studio Pixel not only released an update adding a new Hard Mode to the original game, they also put up a new, free adventure once again starring Pink. Titled Pink Heaven (Free), it’s another really short slice, and it’s a lot easier than Pink Hour. It’s still completely adorable though, and since it’s free, it’s hard to argue with its value. There’s even a hard difficulty setting to unlock, which brings it a bit closer to its sister games in terms of challenge. Considering Pink Heaven was meant to serve as an interactive announcement of Kero Blaster‘s new update, it’s pretty neat that there’s something extra in there.
For those looking for something longer and more difficult, well, Kero Blaster‘s update has you covered. It adds the new Overtime Mode to the game, which sees the workers at Cat & Frog putting in a little extra time before they go on a company retreat. All of their previous efforts seem to have been undone, and more work seems to be popping out of nowhere. It’s up to the Frog to head back out and try to clean things up so everyone can finally take a well-deserved break. Overtime Mode remixes the stage and enemy layouts to create a mostly-new game, one that’s slightly more difficult than the initial playthrough. There are new cut-scenes between the levels, and although most of the bosses are recycled, there are new twists to add an extra challenge. Of course, you can’t do overtime until you’ve finished your regular hours, so you’ll have to beat the regular game first to get access to Overtime Mode.
It’s a substantial update that’s more like an expansion pack than a simple new mode, and as such, Studio Pixel has increased the price of the game by a dollar to reflect that. If you already bought the game before, you get the update for free. About the only thing I could ask for at this point is a universal update, but I don’t think that one’s in the cards, so we’ll just have to make do with Kero Blaster and its companion apps being really great iPhone games.