During PAX West this past September, we met up with the folks from Timberman [Free] developer Digital Melody as they showed us at least half a dozen new mobile games that they had in the works. One that stuck out as especially clever to me was Runventure, which looked to create a serious one-button platformer but not of the auto-running variety. The way they’re trying to accomplish this is with a slider at the bottom of the screen which you’ll use to make your character run right or left. The further you push in either direction the faster he’ll run, but also as you’re pushing in either direction a guide line arcs out from your character which indicates how long and high he’ll jump if you let go of the screen. It’s tricky to wrap your head around, but even with a few minutes of practice it started to click with me when we played that early version of Runventure at PAX. Well I’m happy to report that Runventure is ready to see the light of day on March 15th, and Digital Melody has put together a new launch trailer showing off all the features of the game.
The one-button platformer has been something of a white whale on mobile, as games like Super Mario Run [Free] and Leap Day [Free] absolutely nail a great one-button platforming experience but at the expense of free movement and other concessions that make the whole thing work. I like auto-runners just fine, but I like them in addition to more typical free movement platformers, and not as a replacement. So to see a developer trying to create a free movement platformer but still utilize one-button mechanics is really interesting to me just from a design perspective. It’s been several months since I was able to try out that early version of Runventure, but even then it worked quite well so I’m anxious to see how the final product stacks up. As mentioned Runventure will be released on March 15th, and if you click this link from an iOS 11 device you can pre-order the game right now and it’ll just auto-download to your device when it’s available.
Crescent Moon Games is going to publish the Android-exclusive platformer Reed by PXLink on iOS later this year, and it’s going to have iOS gamers wondering what else on Android they’re missing out on. The game’s a bit similar in theme to Cat Bird [Free], though I only bring this title up as a reference, since Reed pre-dates the game. In each level, you have to collect a large floating cube in order to unlock the exit, while trying to survive spikes, dart shooters, breakaway platforms, and wandering enemies. The game does promise some tricky platforming sections, and your only real tool is a double jump, but the game boasts quick restarts so you can get right back in the action after you die.
Reed‘s pixel art is quite impressive. The game has somewhat of a low-resolution, blocky look with thick outlines, but the art still appears incredibly detailed. The game does look like it’s behind an Instagram filter the entire time with the color usage, but it gives the game a different look from the similar Cat Bird. The animation in particular is impressive. The developer put a lot of time and work into making the cube that players have to collect in each level the most impressive object in the game. The cube looks and feels important, and satisfying to collect.
Reed is a fun and challenging platformer, great for pick-up-and-play sessions, or for sitting down and trying to tackle a bunch of platforming challenges for a couple hours. And it comes in at the criminally low price of $ 0.99. Reed should garner attention from Apple and the iOS gaming community, so why wasn’t it on iOS already? Well, apparently the developer only had Android and PC, which made it difficult to release for iOS, since that requires a Mac specifically. And if a developer is making games primarily for the love and not necessarily as a business, well, maybe buying a Mac to release on iOS isn’t the highest priority. Also consider that a game might easily not make its costs for porting and hardware back if it doesn’t gain any traction!
What this means is that Android has plenty of hidden gems to find, as the sheer number of developers that might not have Macs and just want to release a mobile game for fun is incredibly high. Reed shows that some of these titles have the kind of quality that makes them well worth your time and money. If you have an Android device, you can play the game right now for only $ 0.99. If you don’t have an Android, keep an eye out for the Crescent Moon-published iOS release later this year, and check out the thread in the TouchArcade Upcoming Games forum for more details.
The developer Nerf-Game has finally released its challenging 2D auto-running platformer Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers on the Google Play Store. It has been two years since the original iOS release, and in that time it has changed from a premium game to a free-to-play title. Despite the shift in monetization the challenging gameplay and goofy story are just as great as ever.
If you have never heard of Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers before then you are in for a treat.
Slime Pizza  is a new game coming from Neutronized and Nitrome. Nitrome already brought us some great games like Tower Fortress recently and 2018 is beginning with some Slime Pizza. You play as a delivery boy for Slime Pizza and your ship has crash landed with all the pizzas missing. The video teaser shows off some physics that look familiar to what I’ve seen in LocoRoco and the likes.
Slime Pizza looks to have loads of uniquely themed levels and secrets. The aim is of course to make sure pizzas are delivered to customers on time or they get their money back. One thing I most definitely grateful for here is the lovely icon. It is very elegant despite oozing literal slime.
You can pre-order Slime Pizza  right now for free on the App Store. It is scheduled to release on January 24th. It is free to play and will have ads but you can remove the ads with a one time in app purchase.
Studio Pixel’s Kero Blaster [$ 5.99] is without a doubt one of my favorite games of all time on any platform. The mixture of well-designed action platforming and copious amounts of charm, all in a virtual control scheme that was tailor-made for touchscreens, has been one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had. So when two-man indie developer Sky Pirate Studios announced their own Kero Blaster-inspired game called Help! I’m Haunted back in May of 2016, it was instantly on my radar. Mixing elements of Studio Pixel’s aforementioned game as well as Castlevania and Ghostbusters, Sky Pirate wanted to put their own stamp on the genre with similar levels of action, fantastic pixel art, and charm. The only problem is that all that was taking much longer than they expected.
Originally shooting for a Halloween 2016 release, Sky Pirate sent out a newsletter in October of last year explaining that the game was taking much longer than they anticipated and it wouldn’t in fact make it in time for Halloween. Then in May of this year, they did a similar thing, saying that the game was getting closer to being finished everyday but that the final stretch was taking longer than they planned due in part to doing another pass on the visuals, which they provided before and after examples of. Based on how great those new visuals looked, I was pretty okay with waiting however dang long it took for them to finish Help! I’m Haunted. You can see those before and after shots below.
Well, the next chapter in this saga is unfolding this week as Sky Pirate took to our forums to announce that they’re seeking more beta testers for the game. I actually signed up for their newsletter way back when so was sent a beta build in late November, which was rough but promising. Visually the game looks ace, but there’s some control issues that need to be worked out. And that’s where you can come in, dear reader. Do you want to “play around, break, suggest changes to and enjoy” what Sky Pirate have built in Help! I’m Haunted so far? Then head over to the forum thread here, and click on the link in the first post to sign up for the Sky Pirate newsletter, which will get you on the list for beta consideration. I think Help! I’m Haunted has the potential to be an absolute classic, so jump at this opportunity to help shape its destiny and once we have some more details on the release plan for the game we’ll let you know.