Jussi Simpanen — the creator of Tiny Dangerous Dungeons (our review), and Duke Dashington (our review) — is back with another masterfully updated mobile port of a game he previously crafted for Newgrounds. This time around iDevice owners everywhere gain access to Heart Star (out now, free), Jussi Simpanen’s tale of two star-crossed lovers separated by the fact they’re trapped dimensions apart. However, there may yet be hope for the vigilant Star-Boy and Heart-Girl if they can cooperatively solve a grand total of sixty different color coded dimension hopping platforming-challenges!

Heart Star keeps things fairly simple, with players having left/right movement buttons on one end of the screen — a jump button on the other — and yet another button that switches between the two pixelated protagonists. Since each of Heart Star’s two protagonists exist in separate dimensions, there are some rules you’ll need to keep in mind if you wish to successfully lead them both to all sixty exits. Both of the two heroes may only flip switches — stand on platforms — or be hurt by spikes featuring the same color (although purple items work for either one of them), yet they may stand on each other as well.

Using these rules the star-crossed duo must evade spikes, push blocks, flip switches, open doors, explore teleporters, leap from moving blocks, evade perilous chasms, and perform carefully timed feats of platforming derring-do! Although the game certainly starts out easy enough, you’ll quickly come across some truly diabolical challenges that will likely take you through more than a few failures before you triumphantly march forward! Similar to pretty much everything else by Jussi Simpanen, the full range of possibilities generated by his simple premise has — without any unnecessary retreading — been explored quite thoroughly by Heart Star’s conclusion.

Additionally beneficial is that — although sometimes rather complex — all sixty of these levels feature time compact solutions, meaning a person could easily play a number of these during their lunch break (assuming they don’t also become horribly stumped). Sadly — as you might’ve suspected — the flip-side to all this is that Heart Star is a fairly short experience, potentially ending well before you’re fully ready for the puzzling fun reach its conclusion. At least you won’t have to pay unwarrantedly for this short — yet otherwise cleverly crafted — experience, although ads do sometimes run between the stages (yet these can be permanently disabled for a one-time fee of $1.99).

Admittedly it can be rather hard to argue with a well crafted game being offered for free, but Heart Star truly did feel somewhat oddly short (even by the standards of other free Jussi Simpanen games, all of which are generally a touch longer). As such I must advise people to keep this in mind before buying the disable ads IAP, as this experience — especially if you play iPhone games at home — will likely end far sooner than expected. Additionally — although Heart Star features numerous mechanically diverse situations — the game’s limited graphics set leads to far less varied visuals than normal for Jussi Simpanen, and there’s also not that many chip-tune songs to be found within either.

Verdict

Jussi Simpanen is back yet again with another quality crafted absolutely free mobile port of a game he previously released on Newgrounds (complete with additional/reworked levels). Heart Star is the platforming-packed tale of two star-crossed lovers — dwelling in separate dimensions — trying to finally meet up, yet to do so they’ll need to help each other reach the end goal in over 60 genuinely different levels. Like other Jussi Simpanen releases, the game manages to fully explore every last ounce of potential plausibly mine-able from the simple mechanics set forward (without any unnecessary retreading). However — unfortunately — the game also ends perhaps unsatisfactorily too soon (even when compared to other Jussi Simpanen releases), yet there’s not exactly much room to complain when you’re still receiving everything for free (sans pay-to-win harassment).

Positives
Tight controls
Contains sixty diverse puzzle scenarios from just a small rule set
Negatives
Shorter than normal when compared to most Jussi Simpanen releases
4
Great
Download on the App Store