If you ever feel like you need a new game but don’t know where to start, try a retro platformer. They combine the pixel art of yesteryear with the game play sophistication that more and more apps are employing to boost replayability. Check out today’s Throwdown contenders – VVVVVV and Mikey Hooks – to help you make up your mind. Both are retro-wonderful platformers with surprisingly advanced and challenging game play mechanics, but each has its own appeal.
This platformer originated as an innovative PC-based game and won several awards after it was released in 2010. Luckily for those of us who can’t be without our iPad, the iOS version just hit the App Store and it’s just as good as its predecessor. There’s a basic storyline that helps bring the game together but it’s really not the main focus of the game. A space captain fell into some interstellar combat and now he must travel pixelated levels avoid certain galactic death. Swiping on the left side of the screen moves ol’ Cap’n left and right while tapping the ride side flips him to stand on the ceiling. That’s basically it – there’s no jumps or flying or anything fancy; the skill is in avoiding traps like spikes, robots, and flying saucers (I think that’s what they are). At $2.99 this game actually lives up to its download price, content-wise. There aren’t any IAPs or ads, and although the graphics might look basic, VVVVVV is anything but.
Mikey Hooks is the equally retro-tastic sequel to the original, and fans of the latter will find that the former has all of the same appeal the second time around. Mikey needs to save his people from an alien-slash-robot attack by running, jumping, sliding, and swingin’ around town on hooks. While avoiding disaster, Mikey can also collect coins that help buy customizations in the app’s store. The controls are simple – left and right arrows on the bottom left of the screen and run and slide buttons on the bottom right. With a bunch of disguises, a smattering of Game Center achievements, and the overall kitsch appeal, you’ll be coming back to this game to play it over and over again. The game won a Best of 2013 award in the App Store so you know it’s good, and it rings in at the reasonable download price point of $1.99.