Mikey Shorts review (iOS / Universal)August 24, 2012
♫ “Mikey, step out in your forest green”
10 word description: Run, jump and slide through the land. Collect coins. Speedruns.
10 word review: “My first platformer” themed speed-runner, absent traditional platforming hazards.
You will like this if you enjoy: Trying to beat global speedrun times (on Game Center). Platform games without player death or any real hazards.
The good news: Graphics are crisp and clean. Controls are very good. The basic gameplay is very easy (I put this in the ‘good news’ section because my 4 year old son likes playing this game). Interface and options are very good; controls can be customised. Exploring story mode for the hidden golden shorts is quite relaxing. No IAPs.
The bad news: Story mode levels are short and can all be completed on the first attempt due to the lack of any player death scenarios. Apart from beating your own best time, or a random online stranger’s best time, there is a distinct lack of challenge and no risk at all. Levels are very similar, with the same kind of obstacles and level design features occurring over and over again. The different worlds only vary cosmetically; e.g. the ice world is just a blue and white version of the green world, and the lava world is just a yellow and orange version of the same thing. The water world is just blue platforms, there’s no water. There are lots of costume pieces, but they are unlocked so frequently that there is no excitement or satisfaction when a new item appears in the shop. Challenge mode is just more of the same, only with a more aggressive timer counting down.
Arcadelife verdict: If you’re a speedrun addict who likes a game without any hazards, or a very young gamer learning basic platforming skills, this is probably your ideal game. For those of us looking for a traditional platform game, and by that I mean one where it’s possible to die among other things, this game feels rather underwhelming. I’ve covered most of my issues with this game in the bad news section, so I won’t repeat all that again here.
One big missed opportunity that I can see involves the level design. Every level is fundamentally a left-to-right run, but the engine could easily handle vertical levels or large zig-zag levels. The ways that some of the golden shorts are hidden are quite imaginative, but this only goes to underline the inventiveness missing from the basic level patterns. As for the lack of hazards, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to see a spike pit as badly as I do in this game!
After saying all that, and I know it may appear shockingly negative to anyone having a blast competing against the best Game Center speedrun times, I had almost given up on Mikey Shorts when I happened to let my son (4 years old) have a go on it. It was great to watch him take his time through the first few levels, learning to slide through the tunnels and perform short sequences of jumps between platforms without having to restart or backtrack every time he fell. “My first platformer” may appear an insulting put-down, but creating a game that is this friendly and simple for complete newcomers to platform gaming is quite an achievement. For me, it’s lacking much of what I look for in a platform game although, this time round, I’m willing to let that slide (pun very obviously intended).
The content rating (below) isn’t very high because I don’t consider a load of very similar, easy to complete levels and cosmetic costumes as “lots of content”. The fun rating is marked down because this is really quite a niche game and didn’t really appeal to me – and I am a huge platform game fan.
Visuals – 8.5/10
Audio – 8/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 6/10
Fun – 6/10
Final rating – 75/100
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
BeaverTap Games website link