Nintendo‘s Super Mario Bros might not ever make the leap to iOS, but Not Done Yet Games are keen to ensure that their latest offering, Kid Tripp, is the closest you’ll get to playing the skull-bopping, coin collecting escapades of Nintendo’s mustached, erstwhile mascot.
They come brilliantly close to realising this hugely ambitious goal too, crafting a game that neatly leverages perceptually clumsy touch screen controls to create a responsive and satisfying control system; allowing it to ably fulfil its pixel-perfect platforming mandate with due aplomb across its numerous, twenty-second long, pixel-art lavished worlds.
The premise of Kid Tripp is reassuringly simple; after crashing his plane into the face of a wandering giraffe (don’t ask), our titular hero now finds himself on the run from the rest of the animal kingdom who are hellbent on paying him back for his accidental bit of plane on giraffe violence. Being on the run basically entails our hero dashing from left to right, leaping over obstacles, collecting coins (with 100 of them granting you an extra life) and knocking enemies on the head with a well-timed jump or otherwise murderising them with a projectile ejected from his slingshot.
Sound familiar yet? Effectively you are Mario (if he were a plane flying, giraffe abusing tool), permanently endowed with his fire flower ability and as such, the game seeks to tax your pxiel-perfect platforming skills to the fullest.
Yes, Kid Tripp is an auto-runner, but don’t hold that against it. If anything, the auto-running nature of Kid Tripp plays to the notion that touch controls work best when they’re not overburdened with a myriad of inputs. The only controls you have to worry about here are jump, shoot and hold to jump even higher and the game is all the better for it; allowing you to focus on the timing of your jumps; a crucial concept that requires the appropriate mastery given just how quickly bastard hard the game becomes.
With that said, the game expects you to subvert its auto-running condition in order to survive as there are ways that you can slow the action to a halt, such as waiting behind a block or similar obstacle in order to adjust your timing for a moving platform or patrolling enemy that you need to bounce off of. It’s a crucial skill that you need to master as even early on, as a great many of the game’s acrobatic feats require you to plan ahead in order get the timing for that next jump absolutely perfect.
As is probably quite apparent by now, Kid Tripp cribs liberally and blatantly from the 8-bit idols of yesteryear, coupling basic, twitch-based platforming acumen with it’s pixel-art aesthetics and annoyingly catchy chip-tune musical backings.
Plainly, Kid Tripp succeeds simply because the developer knows its history, it knows what makes a good platformer good and what makes a great platformer great. It succeeds because it nails the fundamentals effortlessly without any other bollocks intruding in on the fact.
There’s no shoehorning of extra curricular gameplay elements or some ill-advised attempt to directly emulate the control systems seen on other games that exist on other systems here, just an ultra-responsive, completely satisfying and massively challenging ballet of 2D platforming excellence.
Make no mistake however; underneath the charmingly twee and whimsical pixel-art veneer of Kid Tripp beats the black, vile heart of a platformer that demands pixel precision skills for which to the uninitiated, may feel to be a little too difficult for their relatively virgin fingers and thumbs to deal with.
Thankfully, the game does make some welcome concessions in this regard; supplying you with a good few lives (you’ll need them) and the ability to continue from the world that you were last on (you’ll need that too), with the latter going hand in hand with the game’s bite-sized nature; it’s twenty second long worlds of platforming hell perfectly suited for jumping in and out of at your leisure.
Quite simply, this is the finest platforming experience you can buy now on iOS and if you don’t bite at the incredibly low price of 69p/$0.99, you’re probably some sort of asshole that likes to fly planes into animals.
An iOS copy of the game was independently purchased by the reviewer. This game was tested on an iPhone 5.
Kid Tripp was developed and published by Not Done Yet Games. It is available on iPhone and iPad for 69p/$0.99. Buy it here.