Action-packed platforming is Magic Rampage’s game, with gameplay and all-round style that echoes the old-school 8 and 16-bit platforming titles of yore and even yesteryear. Its main premise is that you’re given an enchanting little character whom you are able to customise (in appearance, mostly), and with this character, you jump, hack, slash, and magic-spell your way through the various platform-based levels.
The game is arranged as a series of levels that take the form of mysterious dungeons full of enemies to encounter, as well as coins to collect and a limited quantity of shiny gems to pocket as you go. You can also expect a number of secret areas along your way, ones that you won’t necessarily stumble upon the first time around. This gives a +1 to the game’s replay value at least, and at most adds a pleasant bit of depth and variety to an already impressive platform game.
Classic platformer elements come as standard, with various physical obstacles to your progress that need to be traversed, as well as enemies that need to be either melee-attacked or magic-spelled into submission/defeat. The RPG elements also shine through, including the need to keep an eye on your health and the collecting of power-ups as you play. A dedicated shout-out is also required for the graphics of Magic Rampage: they’re extremely charming in their 2D style, draping a modern, fantastical spin over what is at its heart a decades-old concept. Bravo, Asantee games.
Dan the Man
Now we’re getting to the true peaks of visual style, with Dan the Man’s gorgeously pixelated platforming action. This is a game that’s unapologetically short, a comment that also won’t be apologised for. The fact this game has 12 levels in its story mode is even advertised with confidence on the game’s official Dan The Man website. However, even though 12 may seem like a small number of levels for a platformer (considering the hundreds of levels offered by some competitors), Dan the Man’s essence oozes quality, while scoffing at the inferiority and clumsiness of other developers who wish to choose quantity over substance.
Dan the Man is an old-school brawler game fused with platform mechanics, with the whole thing draped in a vintage Sega-like visual style with visible pixels yet packed with more colour and detail than any original Sega hardware could possibly produce. The standard story mode involves battling against enemies with your fighting skills, but once you’re sunk a few hours into this, then there is also Battle Mode where you will fight it out against various enemies in an arena setting.
The most enjoyable aspect of this game is the unique set of upgrades that comes with each of the characters you unlock throughout. Though Dan the Man: Action Platformer is free to play, you’ll find that you have to pay to unlock certain characters. However, there’s still plenty to do, even as a free player.
Nitrome’s visual style has become something of legend, having come a long way from their originally browser-based offerings many years ago. It seems their years of refining and perfecting their style have paid off, because Platform Panic is a sublime offering for Android-based platform game genre. In most respects it is a standard platform game, whereby you control a character, navigating your way through a number of different rooms in quick succession, navigating platforms and obstacles as well as avoiding damage from things actively trying to harm you along the way.
Nitrome decided to put a slight twist on the platforming action, though, by tinkering with the movement mechanics. Instead of controlling the character’s stop-start movement, it is in fact always moving – you can only control the direction in which your character is headed. As you can imagine, this throws up a variety of challenges, and magnifies the importance of razor-sharp timing tenfold. More curve-balls are thrown your way in the form of unusual level design, as well as entering/exiting from different points on the screen, navigating rooms in a non-linear fashion, and much more.
However you look at it, Nitrome’s Platform Panic has the substance and the style to stand out in the platforming genre, though its premise is relatively tame compared to the final game on this list.
One of the first stand-outs of Flabby Kid is its very premise. The developers here have decided to be somewhat close-to-the-bone, basing the game on a large child whose own obesity sparks in him the desire to take on the evil Fast Food Corp, whose sugary and fatty products have led to the virtual enslavement of the youth of the world. Flabby Kid’s platform action is a result of this premise, as you navigate the various corners of Fast Food Corp’s vast empire, collecting coins and various pieces of fruit along the way. This game has all the hallmarks of a classic platform game, and involves you guiding the fat child across a variety of levels. This involves everything from scaling ladders to jumping over various colourful enemies. You’ve got a health bar that you’re going to want to try and keep as full as possible; it will diminish if you bump into enemies or succumb to the pitfalls of each level. There’s even a timer that counts down, which is very reminiscent of the old Super Mario games.
The on-screen joypad is the method of control, and while it’s probably the best way of controlling the action I can think of (tilt screen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), the movement feels a tiny bit sluggish and there’s a split-second delay between tapping the right of the screen and jumping. That said, the double-jump mechanic is one you don’t see often enough, and Flabby Kid’s success depends on this nice little inclusion.
Overall, your platforming journey to the top of Fast Food Corp’s headquarters is a thoroughly enjoyable one, and a total of 3 bosses lay in wait to make your journey even tougher than it already is. Finally, the visual style is quite unique, with cartoonish elements underpinned by subtle comedic details, such as the fat child being sweaty and out of breath when he’s at rest. Flabby Kid: Platform Adventure is the place to go to experience this great platformer first-hand – you’re unlikely to regret it.