Terra Noctis ($2.99) by Bulkypix is a fun retro-platformer that isn't like anything else available in the App Store.
In the game, you play the role of a cute little nightmare named Allen, who, unfortunately, is not quite scary enough. Allen needs your help to find the scariest monster in the dreamverse, so he can gobble up its heart, turn into a terrifying nightmare, and pass his exams.
Platform games are usually hit and miss for me because they don’t always have solid controls, decent gameplay, or interesting content. However, Terra Noctis is the full package.
I loved Terra Noctis from the beginning, with its adorable introductory cut scenes that feature a too-cute Allen attempting to be scary. I’m definitely a fan of the pixelated retro-style graphics, which are done in a great color scheme.
The controls are positioned on either side of the screen, with running forward/back on the left and jumping/ducking on the right. Usually games that have decent iPhone controls aren’t as great on the iPad, but Terra Noctis’s controls are positioned in the right spot and have the right sensitivity to work well on both devices.
It’s a lot like typical platform games. You jump on monsters to squish them, break blocks for items, and collect stuff; in this case: red fairies for levels, blue fairies for score, and nightmare ammo. Nightmare ammo is used to power your special ability, which is a projectile weapon that can be shot at enemies. Using this is easy -- just aim anywhere on the screen that isn’t where your movement buttons are located.
As in old school platform games, there are secret bonus areas to unlock, which are marked with special golden coins that you collect in levels. The blue fairies are used to purchase items from the Pumpkin Girl’s shop, and red fairies will unlock future levels.
If you’ve ever played a game like Yoshi’s Island or Super Mario Bros., then the obstacles, monsters, and projectile shooting in this game will be very familiar. It plays a lot like a hybrid of those two games.
There are a lot of levels to go through, with all kinds of monsters and challenging boss fights. As a bonus, there’s OpenFeint support, and if you’re lucky enough to own an iCade, Terra Noctis works with it.
My only complaint is that the level design can get a bit repetitive, as there isn’t a ton of variation. Hopefully future updates will add new levels with new content and artwork to fix that issue. Also, it lacks Game Center support, which would be great to have.
Terra Noctis is a great game, so if you enjoy platformers or if you’re looking for something new to play, give this game a whirl. At $2.99, Terra Noctis is great value and plenty of fun.