I think it must be pretty obvious by now (the fact the Indie Portal exists as the sole modern gaming section of the site) that we here at RGG (Megs and I, especially) have a huge love and adoration for the indie scene. It’s something we both wish we had when we were growing up, while also reflecting a booming, even more openly accessible version of what we *did* have with the Amiga’s demo and freeware scene back in the day.
This game that is up for review may arguably be the perfect example of what we started this all for in the first place…This game? Bloo Kid 2!
March the 6th (2014) is the date that iOS gamers get their shot at addiction to what perhaps may well be the best platformer on the universal devices. Released as both a paid and free version, with the only differences being the paid version removes ads. That’s right, no lack of content here in the free one, folks. But yes, Bloo Kid 2 is a sequel to the one-screen platformer that became an instant cult smash on the AppStore back in 2011. Lovingly crafted by Jorg Winterstein who you can read my interview with right here in the ‘Portal.
After my initial quickplay and instant reaction to Bloo Kid 2, I told this site’s co-owner (and man who does all the work which I take credit, I thank you) about just how much of a major improvement overall that this game really is. It’s no secret sequels in video games have a tendency to fair better than sequels in film and literature, with the likes of Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Street Fighter 2 and many more standing the test of time as perfect examples of this little factoid. As far as Bloo Kid 2 goes in that standing, I shall quote myself of that original thought: “Bloo Kid 2 to Bloo Kid, is like when Mario Bros went to Super Mario Bros.” – yes, not hyperbole, just #TRUEFACT. It’s really that good, it’s really that much of a step up in depth and quality.
The beauty of Bloo Kid 2 is the way in which it genuinely feels like more than a throwback. It feels genuine. That’s top notch presentation, right there. It is as if it’s a lost Euro-platformer from the golden age, transported to modern devices through a strong mix of magic and science. Wonderful stuff!
This time round, the story plays out in a very traditional (gaming-wise) fashion. There is a mini-cut sequence when you fire the game up, sparking the little blue haired hero into action. The no-need for dialogue, straight to the point intro harkens back to the likes of Ghouls N Ghosts or New Zealand Story, which I shouldn’t have to explain further if you have those instantly in mind. Which you should, otherwise why are you on RGG? Retro, y’all! Basically, you have your reasons for jumping on heads and collecting stars and that’s really all a classic genre title needs, as much as I do love the whacky dialogue and storytelling to be found in the likes of Fist of Awesome. I mean, whoever really questioned the *story* of Super Mario Bros. 3? Exactly.
Graphically the game really shines. The sprites, the scrolling…its old school 2D bliss. It actually, for whatever reason, reminds me a lot of the original Wonder Boy, just a tad more polished. Considering Wonder Boy (or Adventure Island for you Nintendo lot) is one of the all-time greatest, that’s far from a bad thing. Also, much likes Ghouls N Ghosts and the impossible not-to-mention Super Mario Bros, castles make a strong appearance and look absolutely glorious with the enemies changing to fit the environment (enter the knights and skeletons). The enemy sprites themselves mostly return form the original game, so fans have something to feel comforted in right there. I absolutely love the fact that with the sequel it’s no longer single screen, introducing more expansive, scrolling levels. There’s hundreds of them, too – so lots of glory to behold on your mobile device of choice. Good stuff!
The game has the player progress through multiple ‘worlds’ featuring various stages each, with the difficulty ramping as Bloo Kid moves along in his adventure to reclaim the girl from evil clutches. Expect that frustration to build as you await your reflexes to properly become re-acquainted with this typically fashioned offering and get ready to bulk up that muscle memory as it’s certainly going to be a necessity. Bloo Kid 2, like the best platformers; has you wanting to throw your ‘Pad (see what I did thurr) one minute, yet immediately diving back in for seconds in, well, seconds. That is something that will always draw me to a game on a personal level, as that’s the kind of game design that I was accustomed to in my youth, something that doesn’t hold your hand while at the same time not being cheap. You have to learn, you have to repeat, if you are to be successful. You’ll want to be successful as quite simply, the game is fun. Which is something the difficulty of crafting can never be understated with. There’s millions of ‘retro’ style games on the AppStore and millions more doing their own thing, which just aren’t fun. But, this is. I assure you. Addictively so!
Something that adds to the variation and depth of the game is the players chosen path, as there is six optional missions (presented as stars on the end level screen), which allows for individual play styles to be represented. Like speedruns? A timer’s got that covered. Want all the blue stars? Go find ‘em! Fancy a flawless victory by splattering all the enemies in a level? Bloo Kid 2 got ya covered there, too! Of course, this’ll only cause repeated plays from the completionists in us all, which is obviously a grand idea.
The control scheme of Bloo Kid 2 is much similar to the original, with what appeared to me as improved responsiveness. There are arrows overlayed on the game screen (that thankfully don’t intrude on the action), with left and right on the bottom left corner and up and down on the bottom right. Bloo Kid can double jump, swim, collect powerups (including the all-important invincibility) and more on his way to swift victory. Although I have stated the game doesn’t hold your hand, whenever the player has an initial encounter with something ‘new’, they’re not just thrown into the fire. There are tutorial moments to open the game and other sections become alerted through the use of arrow signs and boards with visual descriptors. The controls are also customisable, making sure that this really is a game for everyone. Supposing you like challenging platformers of a by-gone era of greatness, that is. Which you should, because win.
Now, the version I’ve been rocking for a week has been on my iPad (3rd Gen) which has been a perfect complement, so as of writing I cannot confirm whether or not that intrusion or any other placement issues come about on iPhone or iPod. That said, this is something that deserves a larger screen – which I can actually confirm as a possibility through that aforementioned interview, as the developers are seeking to bring Bloo Kid 2 to home consoles, with Ouya specifically in mind. Which I think would be aces! Undoubtedly I shall add to this review in time with any new additions, so don’t worry, RGGers! Speaking of controls, Jorg is seeking to bring fully implemented support for the iCade and relative devices to make the play experience just that little bit more full for those of us who are a tad more hardcore with their mobile gaming.
Musically, Bloo Kid 2 presents an excellent chiptune soundtrack that flawlessly rounds out the retro experience of the game. Oh, and yeah. It’s catchy as heck. You’ll be humming the memorable tunes long after you’ve clicked the screen lock button. The sound effects are perfectly representative of the genre as well, which again just adds to everything. It’s tiring how well produced these little slice of retro heaven is.
The original Bloo Kid recently (January 2014) reached over a million leaderboard entries on GameCentre. I sincerely hope it doesn’t take as long for Bloo Kid 2 and that any and everyone goes and gives this a shot. It’s a truly wonderful little title and reinforces that idea that cutesy, mascot platformers never went away in the first place, they just ducked out in some pipes somewhere. Bloo Kid has the potential to be the next big thing and smash that cult barrier, it’s for more than just niche audiences and could easily gets the kids of today in touch with what made those 8 to 16-bit days so amazing for us lot at RetroGameGeeks. As cool of a nostalgia trip as Bloo Kid 2 is, it deserves to be presented as much more than just that. It’s a great game. Not just a great retro-style game, not just a great mobile game. But, a great game. So much respect for Eiswuxe for allowing me the opportunity to give this gem a whirl.
Overall 9 out of 10
Verdict:- A new school game with very old school intentions. Bloo Kid 2 is a lovingly crafted masterpiece of mobile entertainment worth the time and money of any true retrobate worth their salt, as well as anyone looking for the next great title on mobile platforms.
Born from the mind of Jorg Winterstein, Bloo Kid 2 proves the days of the Giana Sisters still reign, as Germany are still producing some of the best games available on the indie scene today.
From the top-shelf, nostalgic design, to the perfectly adept integration of contemporary presentation - this is a game that hits all the right marks and shatters any and all expectations. As I said in the main review, Bloo Kid 2 is to Bloo Kid what Super Mario Bros was to Mario Bros. A massive step up, a great improvement and impeccable achievement that will only get bigger and better in time, with App support set to continue in the years to come.
Here's hoping for Bloo Kid gaining world domination, as I want to see figurines next to Sonic and Mario in Toys R Us, where they belong. Play this game. Now.
Second Opinion:- Turns out that some people raised on the classic games of old did more than just have fun playing, turns out they were paying real attention.
A game that feels like it could belong on the classics systems this is how you do 'retro style' it's old, it's new, it's gonna be perfect for you. So go play it right now, yesterday if possible.
Transbot Scores:- 8 out of 10