Open Mike Session
Why Mikey Shorts? Well, I’m not sure, but the only reason I could come up with is that Mikey, the main character, wears a pair of shorts. However, if we’re going to go down the dubious road of naming things as literally as that, this review would be titled ‘Kevin No Underwear’.
So let’s move on swiftly. BeaverTap Games brings us Mikey Shorts – a platformer where Mikey must bound his way across the land freeing citizens who’ve been turned into statues by running into them.
It’ll remind you of every Mario game ever created (last count: 457 ). It’s a platformer, so it has golden coins, jumping and…platforms. But unlike the chronicles of our famous plumber, there are no enemies to bounce to death, just people who inhabit the land who’ve been turned into statues which you have to unfreeze by running past them, and mini robots ambling round the level who don’t pose any threat at all. At first, this just makes it seem like a mindless dash to the end of the level, as there isn’t really any danger or opposition to stop you.
Then you realise that completing the level as quick as you can gains you stars which unlock new stages. The levels themselves also become trickier to boss when platforms start floating, and being just out of reach for a normal jump, which means losing time if you miss them.
And you’ll also notice energy gates that can’t be crossed until you free enough statue-people to build up the required energy. This means you can’t just ignore the statues and blast through the level. Think about that next time you’re rushing past Nelson’s Column on the way to work.
You’ve got a ghost which tracks your previous time, so there’s that to beat too. And there’s the balance of coins verses speed. Especially as the golden currency can bag you a range of disguises such as moustaches and bunny ears from the in-game shop. It all adds up to clever level design and a test of your own nimble fingeredness. In the end, your enemies are yourself and time. How philosophical.
And now that I’ve finished exposing my complete lack of understanding regarding the aim of this game, perhaps you’ll allow me to furnish you with my opinion about the sound and graphics. I promise not to be too ignorant.
Audio and visuals are both 8-bit supreme. That means a blippy soundtrack (which is actually kind of neat and pretty nice to listen to), and simple graphics that wouldn’t look out of place on a Master System. Don’t know what one of those is? It’s a black console-type thing that came out a few years before the iPhone. Google it.
The basic graphics mean that the disguises – of which there are a good variety – are as they don’t add much detectable flair to proceedings and can even be hard to make out at times. They also don’t contribute to the game giving Mikey any enhanced abilities or anything of the sort. A nice touch, but superfluous.
Controls are simple and effective. A two-way control pad for movement and two large buttons for jumping and sliding under low platforms. They’re responsive and work well without getting in the way.
Which, it must be mentioned, is more than I can say for my lack of underwear. It’s occurred to me that reading a review knowing the writer was commando the whole time could possibly be a thing of distraction. I’m going to take Mikey’s lead and change into some shorts. Please excuse me.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @dreagleg. He’s wearing clothes now. Promise.
Mikey Shorts is available for £0.69 on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Get it now on the