A young boy and his dog, is there nothing more pure in gaming than a story of a kid and his faithful companion? Runner games are usually not my favorite genre, and mostly because the majority of them are fairly shallow and seem to be destined for the mobile free to play model. Miles the boy and Kilo the dog are flying their airplane through the skies, when they are attacked by a ghost, and crash land on a mysterious island. The ghost orders a few henchmen to steal the plane’s parts, trapping the boy and dog on the island. It’s up to this duo to chase down the baddies and repair the plane and get off the island.
Like I said, I normally don’t like most Runners. They usually consist of a single jumping mechanic. This game differs a bit, as it also has an attack button, where as you progress through the level, you’ll pick up various fruit, that can be used to toss at enemies in your way.
The attack button also doubles as a slide and bashing button as well. There might be several obstacles in the way, that need to be hopped over then ducked under then hop over something else, and finally bash through a barrier. The jumping mechanic is just a simple jump too, the jump can be held down to gain more height off the jump, and coming down on an enemy will kill it, in the same way Mario jumps on goombas.
On top of Miles’ platforming, Kilo also offers a bit of a changeup in the game. When coming across Kilo, Miles grabs the leash and you take control of the dog as he takes off. This now becomes an auto runner, and Kilo can still jump and attack and bash. The Bash is now a summersault, and the attack can only be preformed in the air. Just like the newer generation of Sonic the Hedgehog, in the air, the enemy will have a crosshair targeted around them, pressing the attack button now homes into the enemy and kills them.
The game also have a handful of bosses, which provide the most difficulty of the game. Each boss has taken a piece of the plane, and you chase them down. While chasing them, each character has different forms of attacks and you must dodge them while also dodging the environmental obstacles as well. This became rather tedious, as the game became purely memorization, with zero skill. Just make sure you hit the button at the appropriate time. I actually was listening to a podcast and had my mind on autopilot and didn’t even think about the boss fights, and was able to beat them.
This is the really only glaring issue with the game. It’s difficulty swings wildly in both directions. Some stages can be completed in a death or two, some take 50+ tries. The timing has to be immaculate; spot on; in other words, perfect. A mistimed jump will require you to restart. Most levels only take around 20-30 seconds to complete, but getting the perfect timing down can lead to a bit of frustration as some of the timing window is down to the millisecond. Be off just a hair and you must restart again.
The music, although a bit too chiptune-y, seems to evoke the style of the levels fairly decently, a desert with some egyptian sounding tunes, and a darker mood for the cave levels. With no actual audio settings, you either have on or off, and that’s it, being able to turn down the volume of the music a bit would have been a nice feature, and frankly something that should already be a standard feature in all games.
For a game that I bought for a dollar, I was very pleased with the cute little game. It’s not amazing, but I’ve played plenty worse games in my time. Also, as runners go, it’s got a nice 16 bit style to it, with levels that are creative enough to hold my interest for the hour it took to beat. The difficulty cure is something that should have been addressed, and focusing on trial and error gameplay will never be better than skill based games. For a buck, you can’t go wrong though.