Platformers don’t come much more devilishly difficult than my fourth pick, DUNKYPUNG, the latest release from genre-hopping developer Nathan Meunier. Of all the games I’ve listed so far, this is the one that best suits being on mobile: Fast, brutal, and incredibly moreish, DUNKYPUNG is a platformer enthusiast’s dream come true.
It’s honestly impossible not to get caught up in discussing just how tricky this game can be. You’re a little ball, or a PUNG, controlled by rhythmically tapping the screen to gain air – think Flappy Bird but infinitely more reliable. In fact, the game controls so well, with predictable physics to boot, that you’re left with only yourself to blame when death does arrive.
Throughout each of the game’s dozens of stages, you’ll be dodging spinning blades, lasers, and spike traps – all while attempting to boost your score by performing “death hugs”. This simple mechanic ends up being one of DUNKYPUNG’s biggest hooks, as it requires that you intentionally scrape past the death-dealing paraphernalia on screen. You could just avoid everything and actually finish the game, but where’s the fun in playing it safe?
The game’s striking yellows and odd, hushed narration further enhance the sharp industrial aesthetic. It simply draws you in, and I regularly found myself becoming transfixed in the motions of my dinky avatar, somehow making me feel woozy and utterly focused all at once. Some might decry the later stages as being too much, but, while I admittedly still haven’t finished the thing, I’ve found myself revisiting DUNKYPUNG more than any other mobile game this year.
The bosses in particular could well push an already disheartened player further away, though I rarely felt hopeless or like I was wasting my time by returning for another shot at the hellish gauntlet that is this game. Give it a shot and see where you stand – but don’t say I didn’t warn you.