Mikey Shorts Review
- Rock-solid controls; customizable, responsive and smooth in execution - easy to forget it's even there.
- Whether you like to speed run or obsessively collect everything, there's something for everyone.
- Plenty of unlockables including the brutal challenge mode.
- Hard to tell at a glance what is or isn't free in the store; more of a minor quibble for obsessive collectors.
The days of simply slugging your way through repetitive levels with no objective are thankfully long-dead and Mikey Shorts provides players with multiple objectives, achievements and modes to enjoy with flawless controls; a real platforming gem.
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I almost feel sick of needing to make the point so often, but if you're going to make a platformer, you need to make the core gameplay (that is to say, running and jumping) feel good. In some cases it's a matter of responsiveness from the controls, and in others its anything from the physics to the character animations, but in Mikey Shorts by BeaverTap, none of these things are a problem.
In fact you'd be forgiven for thinking someone from Rocketcat Games ran away with someone from Ravenous Games to create this title as it shares an eerie similarity to League of Evil's skill-based platforming while also borrowing from Hook Champ's secret-filled, hat-unlocking system of rewarding progression.
Mikey must free his people from their frozen state by bumping in to them. By collecting the energy that surrounds them he can burst through barriers, reaching a new set of people and repeating the process until the level ends. There are coins and hidden 'shorts' to find along the way, as well as stars to earn based on the speed of your runs, and it's hard not to replay a level two or three times just to perfect it before moving on; it's Super Meat Boy-itis all over again.
Mikey Shorts absolutely nails the controls by keeping things to a simple two-directional virtual pad and buttons to slide and jump in turn. Sliding serves two purposes, either allowing you to move under low obstacles or blowing up a robot in your path. Similarly, jumping allows players to finesse their arc by holding down to jump higher, arcing smoothly and predictably. While one shouldn't have to point this out with modern games, it was a pleasure to note that I almost immediately forgot I was using a touch screen controller, which is (sadly) not a common occurrence.
There are six worlds to explore in the adventure mode, each with four stages to conquer. As mentioned there are coins and shorts to collect for bonuses, as well as aesthetic changes to the character to either unlock or purchase, however this is only the beginning. After collecting 25 stars you'll unlock the challenge mode, appropriately named as it throws unique and at times blisteringly difficult stages at you where your final score will determine your three-star fate.
Add in ghosts; easily accessible online leader boards; and an appealing retro style, and Mikey Shorts manages to sit amongst the best platformers available on the App Store. No matter how you choose to play the game, be it as a casual platformer; a hardcore leaderboard slug-fest; or to collect absolutely every achievement, you'll find yourself hooked.