Mikey Shorts ($0.99) by BeaverTap Games, LLC is a platforming game that’s about as close to perfect as you can come. I’ve been playing platform games, like Super Mario Bros. since I was an elementary school student, and platformers are my favorite App Store genre.
The moment I opened the app and began my first level, I was impressed with the controls, which are, by far, the best of any platform game that I’ve played on my iPad. They are perfectly placed (though you can move them to your liking) and ultra responsive.
There are arrow buttons to move left and right on the left side of the screen and two buttons, one for jumping and one for sliding on the right side of the screen. Button spacing on the iPad is practically an artform, and Mikey Shorts does it right.
The game was already off to a great start with its controls, but the gameplay is even better. There’s a story mode that’s perfect for casual players and a challenge mode that will give even the most experienced gamers something to work for.
In story mode, the goal is to get through levels as quickly as possible. You don’t need to worry about enemies (there are no lives and there is no dying in Mikey Shorts), but you do need to navigate jumps, ledges, dissolving platforms, and more. As you run through the level, you need to hit all of the statues to progress through barriers, and you’re given a star rating based on how fast you can finish.
There’s a secondary goal of collecting all of the coins in the level, and a tertiary goal of finding the hidden golden shorts that are located in each stage of the storymode. As you can imagine, doing all of this at once is next to impossible, so you’re encouraged to play through levels multiple times.
Playing through more than once is no chore, because each level is incredibly well designed. You will never be frustrated with Mikey Shorts in story mode - it’s just straight up fun.
Challenge mode is, as you would expect, more difficult. You’re given a strict time limit and you need to get to the end of the level before the timer runs out. The better the time, the more stars you earn. Getting three stars is not a task that can be accomplished in one or two runs, and it will require memorizing levels like an old school platforming title.
The coins that you earn in both challenge mode and story mode are used to unlock new faces, eyes, and head items. Items range from unicorn horns and beards to gas masks and ski goggles, giving Mikey plenty of outfit choices.
A slew of unlockables are another element that I love in a platform game, next to controls, gameplay, and challenge. In addition to the outfits you can buy, there are also a ton of achievements to earn. It’s great when a game gives me a reason to keep coming back over and over again, and I have revisited Mikey Shorts multiple times this week.
For those of you with a competitive spirit, the game times each run so you know just how much you’re improving. There are also local (friend) leaderboards and global leaderboards so you can find out how you measure up against other players, both near and far.
Mikey Shorts is a game that truly has something for everyone. Want to have fun? Story mode. Looking for a serious challenge? Challenge mode. Mikey Shorts is well worth its $0.99 download price. In fact, if you’re only going to pick up one game this week, or even this month, you won’t be disappointed with Mikey Shorts.