A hardcore retro challenge at its finest
Kid Tripp pulls no punches, as Kid’s plane crashes and he finds himself in the Green Hill Zone (or Splash Hill Zone, or some opener for one of Sonic’s adventures). No tutorials, no instructions, you’re left to figure it out on your own as Kid immediately takes off to the right from the word go.
The controls are simple: tap the left side of the screen to make Kid jump, and the right side to make him throw rocks. Along the way, you can discover some other tricks, albeit quite by accident. For example, after missing a jump and hitting the water, you might discover that pressing jump will allow you to skip across the water, though the uses for this skill seem limited.
Each time you set out, you’re given ten lives to lose as you attempt to navigate the obstacle course-like settings you’re faced with. Along the way, you collect coins to help build up your score and gain extra lives, but you’ll lose it all if the life counter drops to zero.
Kid Tripp is very old-school in its presentation, but also very smooth as it runs at 60 frames per second. And that is pretty much essential as the game is all about pixel-perfect platforming. Just slightly too early or slightly too late, and you’re as good as dead, as it may be too late for the controls to respond, or you’ll have completely over or undershot one of the game’s many teeny-tiny platforms. Sometimes you won’t even have any idea what you did wrong or could do differently, while muscle-memory somehow manages to save the day once you do manage to get past a difficult section.
This is what we mean about whether you are playing the game, or the game (and its developers) is playing you. There is little room for alternative thought or action: either you do things exactly as they are laid out, or else you die and start over. There are a few tiny divergences from this here and there, but it’s really as simple as figuring out what the developers want you to do and when, or dying.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does really limit itself to a very particular mindset of gamer. In particular, those who love speed running in other games and mastering perfect runs should absolutely delight in Kid Tripp; others, on the other hand, may be turned off by its exacting difficulty. It is truly a hardcore game for the iPhone.
Visually, the game has a very retro-styled appeal with a style that mimics the look and sound of games from the 8- or 16-bit era, or somewhere in-between. The levels themselves have a certain familiarity to them, as noted above with the Sonic comparisons (though the cave level reminds us more of Yoshi’s Island). The design is certainly inspired, but at the same time, doesn’t look like it was lifted straight from it, so there’s a certain freshness there as well. Amusingly, each level also ends with a spinning signpost, just as in the Blue Blur’s adventures.
Kid Tripp is a fine game, but it is probably not going to be for everyone, as its aim seems to be intensely focused on a certain type of audience. But if you’re up for a challenge, then you should waste no time in downloading this one.