In this brave new world of increasingly complex mobile games – a world where it’s possible to literally play Bioshock on your phone – is there any need for simple wide-eyed heroes like Mikey of Mikey Shorts?
Yes. Yes there is. In fact, games like Mikey Boots are as necessary as ever, because they remind us why the world at large fell in love with mobile games in the first place. Sometimes you just need to settle down and remember a time when one-touch arcade titles truly were what mobile games were all about. Though its core premise is familiar by now, Mikey Boots is still addictive and charming enough to serve you that reminder.
Whereas previously-released Mikey titles are all about running, jumping, sliding, and swinging, Mikey Boots throws the red-shirted star into the air. This time, tapping and holding the screen causes Mikey to lift into the air and glide like a majestic eagle – until he slams into a missile, a wall of spikes, an enemy, or any one of the dozens of hazards waiting to trip him up.
Holding the left or right side of the screen sends Mikey veering in that direction. The controls are sharp and responsive. There are no issues with lag, which is good, because you need every advantage to get through the game’s tight turns and corridors as quickly as possible.
Indeed, like its previous installments, Mikey Boots puts emphasis on speed. Stars are rewarded according to how quickly you blaze through a level. Replaying a level automatically loads ghost data from your best run, making it easier to chase your own tail – and correct mistakes before they happen.
You’ll find yourself motivated to play levels over and over too, because Mikey Boots is simply pleasurable to play. Its levels are difficult and loaded with traps, but they’re short enough to keep them from being frustrating. It helps that flying through the air like a befuddled-looking Peter Pan is fun on its own, as is the challenge of making quick turns in vertical alleyways that veer sharply to the left and right.
Mikey Boots’ levels also provide a constant trail of coins that help keep you on track. Their presence also reminds us of a fact Super Mario Bros taught us oh-so long ago: Collecting shiny, jangly things is fun.
Collecting coins serves another purpose. Typical of a Mikey game, Mikey Boots offers tons of alternate faces, hats, and (in this case) speed trail graphics. There are a heck of a lot to collect, but it’s optional. Though there’s no earthly reason why you shouldn’t want to put a beaver on your head and make hearts shoot out of your shoes.
Mikey Boots is a nice reminder of a time when mobile games weren’t aiming to compete toe-to-toe with consoles and PC. When you consider the series is only a few years old, that’s kind of mind-blowing. Nevertheless, Mikey Boots’ main concern is with offering you an addictive action experience, something it does well.