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.


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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.

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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.