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You should play: Mikey Shorts

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | March 24, 2014
These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game  You Should Play.

There's nothing quite like the rush you get when you zip through a platformer, executing perfect jumps and slides with the precision of a seasoned pro — or, at least, someone who has played the same level 5422 times.

It's probably been a while since you felt that rush, unless you've been taking advantage of old-school Nintendo eShop titles on your 3DS (I have). Perhaps that's because handheld consoles and mobile devices today are full of fancy touchscreen tech, which are not exactly conducive to the precise button-presses needed to excel at Super Mario Bros. If you're at all familiar with that old adrenaline rush I'm talking about, you have to download Mikey Shorts on your Android or iOS device.

Mikey Shorts, created by BeaverTap Games, is a retro-styled 2D platformer reminiscent of Super Mario Bros (and, to a certain extent, Sonic the Hedgehog). It looks and sounds like the Super Mario franchise, with bright, primary-colored backgrounds and that oh-so-familiar coin-collection ding.

It's not a complete Super Mario cop-off (hey there, Flappy Bird), so don't expect to see bright green pipes and turtles with spiked shells wandering around. Instead, you play as Mikey, all of your friends have been turned into statues, and it's your job to unfreeze them. You do this just by touching them, and once free, they teleport into space. (It's a little weird, yeah.)

The game has two modes, the first of which is story mode. Story mode consists of 24 levels across six worlds, and although it is a quick play-through, perfecting it is another thing entirely. To beat each level — as in, to just get through and unlock the next level — you have to touch all the statues and make it through each checkpoint until you reach the final, big checkpoint. Checkpoints look like glowing purple gateways of light, and you can't go through a checkpoint unless you've hit every statue prior to that point. Obstacles will get in the way, like the environment itself (ledges, cliffs, and other dangerous things found in nature) and small roaming robots. You can slide through the robots to destroy them, but they're otherwise harmless: They will not kill you.

Aside from just making it through a level, there are three other goals to achieve, which keep the game fresh and entertaining:

Time: The time goal is pretty straightforward: Beat the level quickly, and you get stars. An acceptable time gets you one star, a "pretty good" time gets you two stars, and a near-perfect time gets you three. The stars aren't necessary for anything other than an ego boost, but trust me, after your initial play-through you'll want to go for that ego boost. When you play for time you'll also find that Mikey Shorts' relatively peaceful nature (there are no enemies and you never die) doesn't mean that the game can't get real frustrating, real fast.

 

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