Apple Jack – Review
10th February, 2011 1 Comment
Apple Jack came out at around the same time as Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii did. I got Mario first, played it solidly, but then downloaded Apple Jack because it was there. I expected to play it for a few minutes and get back to Mario but from the very first second I was totally hooked, and didn’t play Mario again until I was done with Apple Jack. That this Indie Game was more compelling than a game with a year of hype, made by an experienced team in a major franchise confirmed for me that Indie Games had “arrived,” as it were. That there was more potential in this service than in any other distribution method.
The first game I ever remember playing properly was a 2D platformer (Alex Kidd in Miracle World, history fans) and I’ve loved them ever since. Xbox LIVE Indie Games have been very good to me in this regard, and Apple Jack is the best of the lot. There’s just so much going for it. Most importantly, it gets right what so many get wrong, the jumping, which has a perfect weight to it. Too floaty or too heavy and your game fails, but Apple Jack is spot on. This perfection carries over to the rest of the controls too, and playing it is a total joy.
This is aided by gameplay itself, which is great. Your goal in each level is to defeat every enemy, and this is done by throwing them into one another, which destroys both. There’s a ton of variety in the enemy design and each has its own attack and movement patterns which means you have to learn them to use them to their full advantage. Some enemies are colour-coded and can only be destroyed by enemies of the same colour which adds a brilliant puzzle element to levels, the design of which is excellent.
There are 100 levels, all set somewhere in the British countryside. There’s no relation between the places the level is set in and the level itself, but being English myself it’s lovely when you happen to be playing somewhere you’ve been or heard of before. To add a little bit more addictiveness, is the multiplier system. Killing a pair of enemies releases coins, killing another pair quickly gets you twice as many, then four times, eight times, 16x, 32x, and it keeps going and going until the screen is totally filled with coins which looks glorious. So many levels I had to replay after insisting to myself that I could complete it better.
I’m also really proud of the fact that I’m one of the very few people that will have completed the super-hardcore version of this before the patch came out that made it easier! It’s still difficult, though, and there are levels that’ll take loads of attempts to beat – the difficulty curve is, like everything else in this game, perfect.
This is absolutely the best 80 Microsoft Points you will ever, ever spend. I don’t think I can express my love for this any better than Robert Florence did, though. “Apple Jack, I love you to your core.”