March 17, 2011 at 3:43 AM ET
If that old-school gaming itch still begs to be scratched from time to time — you know, the one you acquired from decades spent in arcades and playing old Mario Bros. games — then "Kami Retro" could be just the app for you.
This new iPhone/iPod game from Gamevil is a platform puzzler done up in the kind of blocky pixelated style and with the kind of bouncy platform-leaping play sure to warm the cockles of your retro heart. But it's also the kind of addictive, quick-hit, touch-screen time eater that many on-the-go mobile gamers yearn for these days.
Yes, at last you can have the best of both worlds in one bright, clever package.
In "Kami Retro," you're tasked with guiding a small running man from one portal opening to the next while collecting stars and avoiding obstacles along the way. Getting this little dude to his destination alive will involve some quick-twitch responses from you as you swipe the screen in various directions to nudge him where he needs to go. (Swipe up to make him jump. Swipe horizontally to make him change directions.)
Meanwhile, you'll not only be controlling your running man, you'll also be asked to interact with the environment around him. That is, before the start of each round, you'll move springboards, fans and other items about as you try to make a safe path for the little guy.
As with "Angry Birds" or "Cut the Rope", you'll need to spend some time at the beginning of each level plotting the best way to conquer the obstacles in your digital dude's way. But once things get going, you must move fast and time your screen swishes just right lest your running man fall into all kinds of deadly traps.
All in all, this is "Super Mario Bros." mixed with "Lemmings" and given a splash of "Canabalt." Take a look here:
The game will cost you $1.99, which seems a fair price for 60 levels across five worlds.
But be warned, "Kami Retro" is not perfect. The biggest complaint I have with the game is the controls. Note: You MUST swipe your finger through the running man himself ... or get very close to him ... or the game won't read your commands.
To be fair, the developers point this out right there on the App's page, but I didn't notice it at first and found the controls a bit maddening before I made a point of being more precise with my touch commands. It's definitely not a deal breaker, but it is one of those things I'd love to see the developers at Gamevil fix in an update.
Meanwhile, if you like the old-school look and feel of "Kami Retro" and happen to own a Windows Phone 7 device, be sure to check out the game "Rocket Riot." This pixelated arcade shooter (also available through Xbox Live) is a fun re-imagining of the good ol' gaming days.
Now, you'll have to pardon me while I go dust off my Atari 2600.
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