Reed ($1.99) by PXLink and published by Crescent Moon Games is the iOS version of the previously Android-only quick reflexes platformer. If you enjoy other games that require you to be on your feet at all times, such as Temple of Spikes and Thumper: Pocket Edition, then Reed is another game made for you.
Platformers have been a passion of mine ever since childhood. That's because when you grow up with an NES and Sega Genesis as your forms of entertainment when you're a bored child, you end up playing a lot of different platformer games. While I'll always prefer physical controls for the genre, I still check out the latest platformer offerings on mobile, even though I think the Mikey Shorts games perfected the platformer touch controls. Reed is one of those games that happen to have slipped past my radar in the past, because it's only been on Android. But now that it's on iOS, I had to give a try myself. It's definitely one that doesn't disappoint if you appreciate challenges.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Reed is a cute, pixelated gem. The game is rendered fully in 2D with a 16-bit aesthetic, so it serves up that nostalgia nicely. Despite the chunky pixel art, the environments are pretty detailed and nicely textured with some dynamic lighting effects. The color palette in Reed consists mostly of muted, earthy tones with some nice contrasting brights, so it's nothing too crazy but easy on the eyes. The character sprites are adorable and charming, though the game's typeface is like trying to read a foreign language (but that's the point). Animations are smooth and fluid, with no issues of lag or choppy frame rates on my iPhone 8 Plus. The ambient soundtrack is rather atmospheric, creating a soothing and immersive experience.
In typical platformer fashion, Reed is level-based, and players must clear each stage before moving on to the next. It's fairly linear, with no option to skip ahead. And with the challenging twitch-like reflexes that are needed, sometimes it may take a while before you clear that roadblock. Believe me — you're going to fail and die in this game quite a bit. But it's easy to get back up and try again, since it's literally just a tap away.
The story of Reed is pretty interesting. Players control Reed, who is a tiny cat-like creature and last creation of an old supercomputer. But the supercomputer is experiencing glitches and slowly dying, as the cubes have escaped. Without the supercomputer, the world will end. It's up to Reed to collect the cubes, fix the glitch, and save the world.
The goal in each stage is straightforward enough: collect the cube and reach the exit portal that opens up upon collection. But there's plenty of traps, obstacles, and other dangerous critters (like chickens) that stand in your way, so it's all easier said than done. For completionists, there are even secret levels to find, which add to the replay value.
Controls in Reed are fairly easy and intuitive. The two buttons in the bottom left allow for horizontal movement. A button in the bottom right lets you jump, and you can double tap it to jump again in midair.
But since the game revolves heavily around being fast and having good reflexes, the controls sometimes work against you. Timing is everything, and sometimes the game doesn't register my touch in time to avoid being shot by an arrow. Or you move too fast and take an extra step and fall off a ledge and into a pit of spikes. The sensitivity on the controls is either too low or too high, at least for me, so I would like to see optimization made in the future, or at least give players some customization. This would also be a great game to play with MFi controllers, so hopefully support gets added for that.
A hardcore retro inspired platformer.
Reed is a challenging platformer that is not for the faint-of-heart. You need to be fast and skilled to survive in this tough-as-nails gam. It feels so rewarding once you get past that tough level you've been stuck on. The graphics are charming, pleasant, and the sound is excellent. There are plenty of levels to keep one busy for a while too, which is nice.
While Reed is a great option for those who like challenging games, it's not for those who get frustrated easily. The controls also do feel wonky at times, and for a game that requires skillful reflexes, that's a little disappointing. Hopefully the controls can be further optimized and streamlined for flawless play.
As someone who likes a challenge, Reed is an excellent addition to the iOS platformer game collection. I find Reed's cat-like creature to be endearing and rather fitting, seeing as how the internet loves cats. The graphics are a nice tribute to the old classic games, and the tranquil music helps you focus on the game.
While the controls work for the most part, they do feel a bit off at times. However, I'm sure that it just requires more patience and practice as well, but still, customization for button placements and sensitivity would be nice.
Reed is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $1.99. There are no in-app purchases.