Soosiz is another of those titles that I recommend you to just go and buy. With a name such as Soosiz I didn’t really expect what I got. I seldom think much of games with names I can hardly pronounce, but still games like Flimbo’s Quest and Gianna Sisters have been great in spite of their strange name choices. Soosiz comes along and infuses the cutesy platforming genre with a great combination of old school Super Mario Bros and new school gravity defying antics found in Super Mario Galaxy. And obviously a pinch of Rolando and Loco Roco when it comes to the presentation.
Soosiz is a 2-d platformer with a nice twist that you can walk upside down, and jump from boulder to boulder in all directions. This resembles the gameplay found in Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. Depending on the shape of the landmass you walk on you either walk around under it or fall off it. Sharp edges means that you fall off, and it is really easy to know which is which. If you jump close to another boulder or piece of land Soosiz turns in the air, and starts walking upside down. This is really cool, and never gets old in the game.
As Soosiz you have to save your friends found on more than 60 levels in seven different worlds. To help you finding your way around a level you can zoom out, and get hints to where your friends are as well as the exit. When you reach the exit you can choose to go back and find all friends or exit by tapping the exit door. If you manage to find all of your ball like friends, including bonus friends, you get a gold medal. Get more gold medals to unlock bonus levels where you have to find blue coins within a limited time.
You can choose to replay levels to better your medal rating, or just to play your favourites again. The level selection is divided into the seven worlds. I love how the level selection screen is animated with your friends walking around on the small planets. There is a clear difference between the worlds affecting even the main menu screen. It is details such as this that really make me love Soosiz. Having a dark space theme when you play in the space zombie world is perfect.
The game is quite hard as there are no checkpoints during levels, and you only get three life points. You can collect a girlfriend to get five life points but they aren’t on all levels. When an enemy hurts you blink for just a brief moment before becoming vulnerable again. This means that one enemy example throwing hammers might kill you if you get stuck in the barrage. I would have liked a bit longer time to escape a danger when I get hurt. You also loose a life point if you walk off a ledge or miss a jump.
The controls are never to blame for you messing up. The controls of Soosiz are the best I have encountered in a platformer for the iPhone so far. There are only buttons for left, right and jump. Beside the zoom-out button and powerup button those are all you get. It reminds me a lot of Super Mario Bros, and other platformers of that early time when you had a pad and two buttons. When you collect 100 stars you get to use the powerup button when you think it best serves it’s purpose. The powerup is invulnerability, and instant death to baddies you meet by just touching them. It lasts until your count of stars goes down to zero.
All games have their shortcomings, and Soosiz have a couple of things nagging at me. The first is a lack of pickups, and powerups. I would have liked to have powerups that really affected both appearance and abilities of Soosiz. All you get now is that one of your friends makes you run faster, and jump longer. Another friend makes you jump higher. Another flaw is the sometimes-strange music selection with Christmas music thrown into the mix as well. Thankfully Soosiz lets you play your own music.
To me Soosiz is a great Super Mario Bros inspired game that takes the formula even further. Just like the classic NES game Soosiz makes you want to come back for more, and more, and more. And with 65 levels, 7 bosses and lots of bonus levels you get what you want.
Presentation and graphics
Soosiz sports lovely cute bright graphics with smoothness to them. I love all aspects of the presentation, especially the attention to detail such as the changing menu screens. Backgrounds are varied and colourful; yet never distract you when you run around upside down jumping on baddies.
The story is told in stylish images with text, and I like that the developer has kept Soosiz 2-d all the way.
The music is a mix of ok adventure platforming music, strange Christmas carols and whatnot. Still it is quite enjoyable if you just focus on the game. Otherwise play your own music when starting the game to get both what you want to hear as well as the great sound effects.
Super Mario Bros mixed with Super Mario Galaxy with great controls makes for an iPhone classic. Just like Super Mario Bros for the NES anyone can pick up Soosiz and play. But just like in the aforementioned game it takes practise to become a skilled jumper mastering the intricate jumps, timed sections and enemies throwing stuff at you. A game can often get accused of copying another game, but in the case of Soosiz I feel it is both a case of loving tribute to the original as well as a development into a unique game. To me Soosiz is the Super Mario Bros of iPhone gaming, and should probably be bundled with the OS much like I feel about Solitaire City.
Soosiz has lots of levels with variation in themes and obstacles. I never feel like I have already played the same kind of level once I enter a new level. It feels fresh, and the level design is great throughout. New enemies, obstacles and environmental hazards are introduced at a steady pace. Boss fights are ok, at times hard but I have never felt that it is impossible to beat a boss. Going back to replay levels to gain gold medals add gamelife, and unlocks bonus levels.
Soosiz is to the iPhone what Super Mario Bros is for the NES, a must have. You get hours of quality platforming with great production and personality. Controls that your granny can understand paired with old-school game over gives Soosiz an addictive flair. I can warmly recommend Soosiz without any hesitation.