05
Aug
image

Bloo Kid is a throwback to the older, 8-to-16-bit art style of the days of gaming yore. As the aforementioned Bloo Kid, you traverse levels that only take up one screen, killing enemies until they stop spawning. There is no scrolling involved, which I suppose is meant to be part of its "old school" design. Health is handled by Zelda-style hearts.

To add incentive along the way (and to unlock further levels) you are tasked to hunt for stars: one for killing all enemies, one for surviving without getting hit, and another that arbitrarily shows up before the level ends. This last one bugs me a little bit, as if you're across the level from the star when it appears, you have little-to-no chance of getting in it time.

bk1

bk2 bk4 bk3

It's like the developers thought "Man, we need another star that can be consistent across all levels, so we can continue to rip off the level mechanics from a number of other games!" They then decided to that just having a star randomly show up would be the best idea, and went with it.

The controls are handled by on-screen buttons, which work quite well. You have a jump button and two arrow keys that are responsive enough to do some decent platforming, but are easy to lose during the franticness of a level since there is no way of verifying when a button is accurately pressed. I wish that more games used haptic feedback as a way of confirming successful actions with controls, as it would make things a whole lot more intuitive.

All in all, the game delivers on its promise to be an ode to days gone by. While the art style seems a bit too colorful to claim that it's 8-bit, it definitely looks like something I'd find on my SNES. However, for a title that seems to market itself on being "old school", it does borrow a lot from current mobile gaming.

This isn't always a good thing.

I think what annoys me most about Bloo Kid is that it really isn't a true platformer. Instead of actually trying to get somewhere, you're stuck killing enemies until there aren't anymore. While visualizing the progress between levels is doable, it just doesn't make for a very fun experience. Platformers should have a sense of narrative to drive progress and reward players.

bk4 bk6 bk5

There are many games that like to abuse the "here's a bunch of levels, get three stars in each to unlock more!" system of game design, and Bloo Kid is one that suffers for it. I simply don't care about my progression through the levels if my navigating the environment is a secondary objective; instead, my focus is on killing enemies and wondering when that god-awful last star will spawn.

Ultimately, developers shouldn't be afraid to develop their own mechanics if it will simply fit the game better; I mean, isn't that the whole point of innovation?

Instead, I've been noticing a number of games that cling to the "each level has three stars! Collect them all!" mechanic like it's some kind of life raft that will assure people will actually pay attention to their product. It's like they're afraid that if levels aren't in a 5X5 grid menu, or aren't simple enough to create new level packs willy-nilly (and charge for them as DLC!), people won't actually play them.

Here's a tip: make a game that people will enjoy playing, and they actually will. There isn't a hell of a lot wrong with Bloo Kid, but there isn't much that makes it special, either. It's stunningly mediocre, and could have been capable of much more.

Bloo Kid is free and ad-supported. If you're looking for a platformer that you can play in (extremely short) spurts, grab it. However, if you're looking for a true platformer that isn't afraid to take some chances, pick up Meganoid instead.

Matt Demers
Matt Demers is a Toronto writer that deals primarily in the area of Android, comics and other nerdy pursuits. You can find his work on Twitter and sites across the Internet.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    So it's just mediocre - that's too bad. Not sure what I expect from an 8-bit game in today's day and age though - it's one thing to be nostalgic for old games and enjoy them because of that, but it's another to make a new game that's just meh.

  • http://mobilegamebuzz.com/ Nick Moore

    Bloo Kid was developed by a small indie developer whom i've got the chance to speak with, consider the scope of this project from a one man studio. Despite Bloo Kid's issues, i feel an indie dev who created such a lengthy and very much playable experience should be applauded not ridiculed.

    • b1ll

      Well, if you think something is boring and unoriginal, then a long boring and unoriginal same thing, even from an indie dev, isn't going to change your mind. In the end, you want to be entertained.

  • Jaymoon

    There was always something odd that I would feel whenever I launched Bloo Kid...

    I would play a level, of course, NOT get the 3 stars (other than the first stage), and see no point in continuing on to the next.

    You are spot on, in your observation of how without progress in a game, there's little to no incentive to keep playing it.

  • http://www.eiswuxe.de Eiswuxe

    Thanks for reviewing my game! I agree with most of your critics.
    There is just one thing that I want to point out because it is stated just wrong:
    The collectible star does NOT spawn arbitrary. If you play a level twice, you will notice that the star always spawns on the same position. So if you know where it will spawn, you can finish the level in a way to be near that position to make sure you can grab it.
    I added the "three-star" system to give hardcore gamers a challenge. The difficulty in the game increases with every world, yet people who are used to play platformers might find it way too easy in general. So they get their challenge from getting all three stars in the level, that's it :)

    • Matt Demers

      Yes, but if you're playing the level for the first time and the star spawns all the way across the level, there is little to no chance you will be able to get it.

      You have no way of knowing where it will spawn beforehand, so you can't even say "Alright, I know that star will be there. Time to plan my strategy so I end up there when I kill all the enemies."

      So essentially, you're forcing people to play your levels more than once in some situations, based on a completely arbitrary location.

      I'm not saying players should be able to beat every level the first time without trying, but making them unable to based on luck seems to be a bit dumb.

      • http://www.eiswuxe.de Eiswuxe

        99% of todays games are made that way that you have to play them more than once in order to get all points / achievements / unlockables / whatever. So I do not consider it a downside that you cannot complete every level perfect on the first try.

  • http://www.eiswuxe.de Eiswuxe

    Hi. The Bloo Kid content-update (version 1.5) is available now, for free. It contains two new worlds with 24 all new levels as well as better controls and some bugfixes.

    https://market.android.com/details?id=de.eiswuxe.blookid

  • Fady Mahfouz

    Well, I enjoyed every bit of this game.

    You're too harsh and too judgmental, the game is FREE for crying out loud, if you didn't like it DON'T play it.

Quantcast