Walk Right. Jump on enemy. Collect coin. Repeat.
I was never a big believer in platforming games on the iPhone. The controls just always seem a little too loose and imprecise for all that jumping. I chalked it up to a limitation of the touch screen and just went back to playing Bejeweled. Then I played through Pizza Boy, and for the first time really saw platforming controls done well on a touch screen (I’m sure it’s been done well before that, but that’s the first I saw first-hand). Since then I’ve definitely been open to the idea and was able to approach Pixeline and the Jungle Treasure with an open mind.
If you’ve ever played a 2D platformer then you could probably tell me what the game is about without even seeing it. You’ll move through different areas, jumping over obstacles and collecting coins. You’ll jump on top of enemies to kill them while picking up treasures. Pixeline features pretty much all the cliches. Not to say that’s a bad thing – they’ve been game staples for 30 years now.
There’s an overworld map that’s somewhat of reminiscent of Super Mario World, but it’s really more linear than that. It’s not so much used as a way to branch off different levels, but it gives you the chance to go back and re-do older levels to get more treasures if you’d like. It also serves to give you a nice feeling of progression and you work your way through the included 26 levels. The different stages take you though all sorts of different terrain that are common in side-scrolling platformers. You’ll go through dense jungles, ruins, swamps, etc. Over the course of those levels you’ll jump over and on many different varieties of enemies as well, much like in countless other side-scrollers.
The biggest difference here is that your character is a girl. Yea, it’s a real shame that in 2010 that’s still something worth mentioning, but the hard reality is that this is still a notable fact. Even on a more mainstream device like the iPhone, if you load up a game you’re almost without fail playing as a dude. So if you’ve got a wife, sister or daughter that would like to see some Y chromosome representation, here ya go. It’s not exactly parity, but it’s a start.
The biggest downside for Pixeline and the Jungle Treasure, as you may have gathered by now, is that you might get a feeling of “been there, done that” from playing it. While it’s a totally competent and mostly enjoyable experience, it’s also been done to death. There’s nothing new brought to the table here to really make it stand out on a meaningful level.
I did also have some issues with the controls, though eventually I did get used to them. I had to die many, many times before that happened however. If you take your finger off the screen you better look before putting it back down, since touching off center causes Pixeline to start walking left or right. It was just a little too touchy and I would’ve much preferred putting my finger down and then sliding left or right to make her move. It’s a tad iffy the way it’s set up.
On the whole, if you enjoy 2D platformers you can’t go wrong with Pixeline and the Jungle Treasure. It’s mostly very good and provides a decent challenge and leaves you satisfied after finishing it. Just know going in it doesn’t blaze any new trails in the genre, and sticks pretty close to established convention.