Have you ever found yourself wishing for a game sort of like Flappy Bird, except that — rather than being a casual experience — was built more in-line with the expectations of old school platforming titles? If you answered that question with a yes, then Mikey Boots (out now, $1.99) — the latest release by Beaver Tap Games — is precisely the nail-biting adventure that you’ve been hoping for! This time around Mikey is on a mission to traverse 36 different levels — as well as six ultra hard bonus stages — using the unlimited flight powers of his brand new rocket boots, but this trip certainly isn’t a walk in the park.
This time around Mikey’s controls are quite a bit different from his last two outings: you may hold the screen’s left-hand side to thrust upwards while going left; meanwhile, you touch the screen’s other end to both move — and thrust — to the right. Although Mikey will begin descending the precise moment you release the screen, his forward momentum — even after he touches down on solid ground — will otherwise continue eternally. Although awkward at first, it is these controls — which deliberately keep you always moving in some direction — that lead to most of the difficulty found within Mikey’s third escapade.
Using these controls you’ll navigate Mikey through long and twisting tunnels lined with traps, spikes, enemies, and inconveniently placed pools filled to the brim with hot lava. Early on these challenges will seem trivially easy to conquer, and you might even find yourself beginning to worry that you’ll blow through all of Mikey Boots without ever once being properly challenged. Let me assure you right now that being unchallenged won’t really be your primary concern by the time you’ve reached Mikey Boots’ back half, instead you’ll be doing your best to restrain the urge to toss your iDevice in utter rage.
Going a long way to induce this rage definitely has to be the angry-faced missiles that quickly blast across the screen, but thankfully they always appear in the same location each time (not that you’ll have any hint where they are on your first play through). Although most of Mikey Boot’s obstacles are simply a matter of taking care to avoid the things you see coming up ahead, you’ll quickly learn to hate these missiles as they’ve generally been placed to kill you for dodging something else via a path that seemed safe. Worse yet, don’t ever bother thinking that you’ll manage to avoid these evil munitions via quick reflexes — especially during your first play through of a level — as the most obvious escape routes have already been blocked off by precision-placed ceiling spikes.
Although merely reaching the end of each level is your primary goal, ideally you’ll also want to collect all of the many shiny coins left floating about each of Mikey Boots’ numerous stages. Thankfully the developers have decided to be nice regarding these coins, and therefore they’ve all been placed to help lead Mikey towards an ideal path rather than positioned with the intent to put him in harm’s way. With these you’ll be able to unlock an utter plethora of varied costume-bits with which to disguise either of the game’s two playable protagonists (whom both have the exact same costume options).
Another thing that players can attempt to retackle is how quickly they can finish each level, which – as is customary for mobile games — will award a rating from one-to-three stars. There really is — when nailed correctly — a path that takes you straight through each and every level, all without ever needing to resort to even a single stall tactic (such as having Mikey wait behind a wall, or deliberately flying quickly back and forth). Furthermore — to help players perfect their performance — there’s even a literal ghost Mikey that perfectly recreates your fastest previous run; serving to both give you insight into earlier mistakes, and also to make it clear when you’ve fallen disastrously behind.
Finally, somewhere in each level — usually in an extremely unobvious location — there will the greatest of all treasures: The Golden Shorts (no, really, they’re a pair of sparkling golden shorts). In order to find these you’ll have to walk and/or fly through a false wall hidden somewhere in each level, with your only tangible clue being that a wall is actually fake being that the blocks making it up will appear slightly different. I honestly can’t say what managing to collect all of these Golden Shorts might possibly achieve — however — as I haven’t yet finished Mikey Boots, owing to the game’s extreme difficulty later on.
Anyways — with all game play matters finally covered — I would like to say that Mikey Boots, and its many levels filled to the brim with parallax scrolling, are all actually quite vibrant in appearance. This was actually a pleasant upgrade over Mikey Hooks (our review), wherein we felt that — despite having amazingly tight controls — the game was otherwise a bit disappointingly drab looking. Furthermore — should you be seeking something far more retro in appearance — you can even select an alternate graphical option, wherein everything ends up becoming a lot more pixelated.
In the end — although very good — the chief most thing keeping Mikey Boots down has to be the game’s difficulty, which is certainly going to be a turn off for many people by the time they get past level twenty. There’s also the fact that Mikey Boots is radically different from its predecessors, which — compared to the Flappy Bird esque game play found in Mikey’s third outing — were both otherwise traditional platforming titles. However — despite the app’s extreme difficulty and differentness — Mikey Boots is still a rather well made game, and is likely to be exactly what some players have long been hoping for should they have ever decided that Flappy Bird was too simplistic.
iFanzine Verdict: Mikey’s third outing is just as tightly controlling as ever before, but now perhaps a bit more brutally challenging than many fans would have otherwise been expecting. Furthermore, Mikey Boots –– rather than being a standard run-and-jump platforming experience — comes off more as what Flappy Bird might have been had it originally been designed a longer serious-minded experience. Although the end result still makes for a fairly well made game, it’s a good idea that long time Mikey fans keep these numerous changes in mind before they rush out to grab Mikey Boots.