BeaverTap Games' iPhone and iPad title, Mikey Shorts, brings to mind the NES and Sega Master System days, a time when story gave way to simple yet charming graphics, along with intense platforming that had us glued to TV screens for hours. On the surface, it appears to be a pushover, a game that can't shine Mario's shoes. Play it for just a few minutes, though, and you'll come to the quick realization that almost nothing comes easy, which is exactly how we like it.
For a game with retro inspirations, Mikey Shorts has a welcome number of layers. It is, first and foremost, a platform adventure starring a young boy out to save people from danger. Then it branches into two distinct paths, one of the speed runner, the other a collect a thon. The former challenges you to plow through the levels as quickly as possible in a desperate attempt to a.) touch all statues, thus freeing the captives held within, and b.) make it to the exits in record time to earn up to three stars; you should also pick up as many gold coins as possible to unlock different costumes and accessories in the shop. That said, this path is by far the most intense, and will have you frantically jumping and sliding all over the place. This is especially true once you unlock Challenge mode, where you must reach the end of a stage before time runs out.
The latter path, on the other hand, slows things down considerably by asking you to locate a pair of golden shorts hidden within each level in Story mode. Here, you're free to take a more leisurely stroll through the environments on a scavenger hunt. Less stressful, to say the least.
Regardless of which route you take, Mikey Shorts provides hours of fun. Speed running, however, is by far the more thrilling experience, since you'll eventually learn patterns and fly through stages with relative ease. Some take longer to figure out than others, obviously, but the wonderful sense of satisfaction that comes from mastering boards justifies the game's $0.99 asking price.
Beyond that, you're free to customize the controls by moving buttons around the screen. The game also has a wealth of achievements, the option to beat other players' best times from around the world, over 100 outfits and a sweet old school presentation, complete with catchy chiptunes music and six varied environments that bring late 80s video game graphics to mind.
At the same time, we would have preferred a bit more complexity, perhaps special attacks and enemies. Still, Mikey Shorts manages to stand tall amongst the best the platform genre has to offer, and you should make a point to download it in the very near future.
What's Hot: Intense platforming, excellent and customizable controls, competing against other players' best times, six different environments, quality presentation.
What's Not: Needs more Story mode levels.