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On the Hop Review

By , on February 21, 2012


On the Hop
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • As the levels go on, the game slowly morphs into a deadly obstacle course with the developers anticipating player movement to thwart success with their design.
  • The bonus levels and death mode add a lot of clever content.

CONS

  • Death brings up a menu screen instead of restarting you at the beginning of the level.
  • Lack of variety in the music.

VERDICT

On the Hop uses a simplistic single touch control scheme and designs a deadly platformer's paradise out of it with a death mode, bonus levels, and more content on the way.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info
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Part of what makes a good platformer is simplicity in control. On the iPhone this can lead to a disadvantage as you're missing the tactile feedback of a d-pad, analogue stick or buttons, and most platformers try to replicate these control schemes with the touch screen. The best examples of the genre on the platform are those that try and work around this limitation, using the advantages and simplicity of touch controls to create a memorable platforming experience. On the Hop succeeds in this regard.

Each level starts you off controlling the pygmy Mmmo, and soon the levels involve picking up your companions Rrro and Zzzo up for the ride. Your guess on how to pronounce these character's names is as good as mine. The core mechanic is quite simple. You're traveling on a rotating disc. Tapping the screen will cause you to jump, and if you hit the next disc you stick to it and follow it along its rotation. The goal of each level is to reach the orange disc at the end, and to gain the three star ranking you need to collect all the coins, collect your companions and get to the end as quickly as possible.

The three star ranking isn't just for personal satisfaction however. Three starring a level will unlock its doppelganger in the aptly titled 'death mode'. Similar to Super Meat Boy's dark world, these levels require precise timing and dedication to overcome. The main levels have a tendency to slowly morph into obstacle courses that make you feel like the developer is one step ahead of your thoughts and has designed the level to take advantage of that... and death mode just exacerbates that feeling.

This is what platformer fans live for however as rising to the challenge is all about precision and making the most of the simple mechanics. One small complaint is that when dying the game loads up a menu screen where you can choose to retry or exit to the stage select. This becomes an inconvenience as you just wish to jump back into the level to try again every time you die.

With the death mode, unlockable bonus stages that have their own unique twists, and more levels to come in updates, players will not be at want for content. The simple controls coupled with the slow reveal of more hazards, abilities, and devious level design make this a must play for platformer fans, and those who don't get enough jumping in their day to day portable gaming.

Screenshots

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