Kid Tripp looks like he's Mario's little nephew and best buddies with Ness. And wouldn't you know it, he kind of plays that way too. This super-challenging retro platformer from developer Michael Burns and Not Done Yet Games is one of the toughest games you can tap your way through on iOS. It's also a great little bit of mobile gaming for those that like their masochism served up nostalgia style (really, that's the best way to have it).
I know what you're thinking: this looks like yet another run-of-the-mill Mario clone. And yeah, at first blush and based on nothing but pictures, I could see how some would feel that way. But that couldn't be further than the truth. Kid Tripp is about as far removed from the hot trash that you can dig up on the App Store just by searching the word "Mario," even though it bears more than a little bit of (intentional) similarity here and there.
This tiny title is a combination of a traditional platformer and an endless running game. You see, the thing with The Kid is that he just won't stop moving. So playing Kid Tripp is kind of like playing an old school platformer with a broken controller. It's up to you guide the young lad out of danger with well-timed jumps and blasts, because he's not going to stop moving. It makes for a fun challenge, especially because it's not actually endless and you have a goal each time of finishing a level.
The controls are drum-tight. Since there's basically two things you can do in-game (jump and shoot), the controls are broken down into the halves of the screen. Touch the right side of the screen to shoot and touch the left side of the screen to jump.
That's all there is to it. But if you really want to get the hang of the game and deal with the challenges, you will need to master the two key extra moves. Holding down the shoot button will let you sprint and clear big gaps. And holding down the jump button will let you get an extra bounce off an enemy's head.
The level design and soundtrack make you feel like you're playing something on your old NES. Kid Tripp is right up there with some of the other great retro titles out there like Meganoid and Mikey Shorts. While there are some pretty tough levels that will definitely take more than a few tries to complete, none of them are all that big to begin with. So it never feels like you're slogging through anything, even though you will have to start at the beginning when you die.
With the really challenging levels, it feels like you're gradually chipping away the further you get with each try. You have to know what's coming though. If you're not into committing levels to memory, this game might not be your cup of tea. But if that sounds like fun, in addition to placing well-timed jumps and shots, then I do declare... is it 4pm already?
And don't feel bad if that grinning monkey inspires a more than a bit of frustration every time he throws a, erm... monkey wrench into your progress. Just bide your time and keep at it. We both know that monkey is gonna get what's coming to him.