Old school platformers done right are a thing of beauty. One of our favorites from last year was Mikey Shorts, BeaverTap Games' tribute to the NES/Genesis classics of old. Now the team is back with a nice little follow-up, Mikey Hooks, and it once again demonstrates how to do a retro-style game justice on mobile.
Our hero, a likable kid named Mikey, still slides into cramped spaces and jumps across platforms. However, he expanded his abilities with grappling. By slinging onto certain points in each stage, he can swing across hazards like spiked floors and dangerous enemies while collecting coins.
Swinging adds a wonderful element to the game. It's easy to use thanks to BeaverTap's smartly designed control scheme. You'll chain together swings in no time, which helps when it comes to shaving a few seconds off your completion time.
You'll need every bit of skill you can muster, because Mikey Hooks is tough; once he runs out of hearts, his turn is over. Thankfully, there are collectible hearts scattered throughout each stage, which allow you to continue running.
Mikey Hooks is all about competition. You'll earn stars based on how quickly you speed through a level, and there's also coin collecting, with 100 plus littered throughout each stage. Thanks to the competitive leaderboards, you'll always gun for a better finish time and coin count, which is great for a game like this.
There are a good amount of story levels that become increasingly difficult over time, as you contend with enemies, spiked walls and floors. Once you get past those, you can hop into Race Mode, which replaces the prequel's Challenges Mode. You dart through each level in the fastest time possible while racing against three ghosts. It'll take some time to master these levels and score first place wins, but practice makes perfect.
The more you accomplish in the game, the more bonuses you'll unlock. These include an assortment of accessories for Mikey, such as a fiery grapple grip, mullets and beards that go great together. You can also purchase unlockable extras, including an 8-bit style setting and double scoring opportunities.
Like the first game, Mikey Hooks benefits from a superb presentation. The visuals will take you back to the good old days, when all a platformer needed was great level design. The music is pure bliss, with well-synthesized tunes that sound like they came straight out of a classic TurboGrafx-16 game.
Mikey Shorts did a lot for the platforming market last year, and for just under two bucks, Mikey Hooks does even better with a new mode, a great new gameplay tactic and that same wonderful presentation from the original. One play and you'll be, ahem, hooked.
Download Mikey Hooks: iOS
What's Hot:Gameplay soars with new grapple gimmick, lots of unlockable accessories, terrific retro graphics and music, online leaderboards keep things competitive with your friends, Race Mode is a better alternative to the original's Challenges, cheap $1.99 price.
What's Not:Later levels get ridiculously difficult, you'll need some time to achieve first place victories.