Everplay Interactive and Spain-based developer CookieBit just released 1001 Attempts, their second in a series of Retro Revival games, which finds the two collaborating to put a new spin on classic gaming themes. Their first entry, titled Rock Blocker, was released a few weeks ago and provided a fun take on a Space Invaders style of gameplay. With 1001 Attempts, Everplay and CookieBit are throwing down on some serious platform action.

When we previewed this game last week, it was hard not to make comparisons to Super Crate Box. The resemblance of the small, blobular hero alone should suffice. But after totaling up my share of attempts so far with this title, I can confidently report that there is also a definite similarity in the difficulty level of the two games. 1001 Attempts is hard! But if my fondness for Super Crate Box is any indication, I love hard games. Especially when they have tight controls.

The entirety of the game takes place in one box in front of you. When you tap on the control buttons, located in the corners, it causes gravity to reverse and your little guy will move up and down, as well as side to side. If you can, try to play this game on the iPad, as you're guaranteed not to have your hands getting in the way.

It plays okay on the iPhone, but it's not ideal. Which is a shame, because this is the kind of simple game that works best for someone to play while in transit, on the subway or bus. But it helps that the gameplay is pretty dead simple here (emphasis on the dead). Dying is kinda fun though. In large part because of the hilarious, winking messages that are delivered to you after you perish in a burst of pixels.

Your goal in 1001 Attempts is to collect as many heart jewel thingies as you can before you meet your inevitable, pixely demise. In your way are all manner of dangers -- spikes, glowing skulls, buzz-saws and lasers, just to name a few. When one of these is about to head your way, there will be a little yellow warning sign that will pop up in the vicinity of where the danger will be coming from.

There's no specific warning of what exactly will be coming at you. But after a while, you will be able to recognize patterns and configurations. For instance, if there are a bunch of warning signs grouped together, you can bet that you'll be in store for a batch of missiles.

The hazards will start coming at you faster and faster the higher your score gets. This is one gripe I had with the game. After I got the hang of it, I kinda wanted to be able to ramp up to the harder stuff a little faster.

Once you cross the 500 point plateau, that's when things really start getting interesting and you have to manage a whole bunch of things on the screen at once. But getting there can sometimes seems slow. But that's not to say that you can't die right away. Much like in Super Crate Box, if you are not on your toes, you can die within seconds of starting up a new round. Thus the appropriate title.

I loved the look and feel of the game as well. From the constant spray of pixels that follow your little blob guy, to the flashing screen whenever you pick up a jewel, to the sound effects that trick my ears into thinking they are listening to a session of classic NES Mega Man, this is a slickly packaged retro game.

There are moments when 1001 Attempts feels like a kind of turbo-charged version of Pong, especially when everything is bouncing around the screen at breakneck speed. I kinda wish they would brighten up the colors a bit though. Or give you the option of picking between a few different color palettes.

While I have been playing this game a bunch recently, I don't think I've played it one thousand times just yet. But something's gotta happen once you hit that mark, right? I would hope so. Perhaps a Game Center "OCD" trophy or something along those lines. 1001 Attempts is distilled gaming at its best, delivering just what's advertised and doing it well, like a stiff drink of whiskey. Even if you're someone who prefers to see mobile gaming pushed to its limits, it's hard not to be charmed by this title.

Are you fast enough!?!


App Store Link: 1001 Attempts for iPhone & iPad | By Everplay | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 6.4 MB | Rating 4+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating