Developer: Mondo TV France
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Endless running and platforming go together like peanut butter and chocolate. There is a reason that there are entire series of videos online featuring people trying to speed run games. This phenomenon gave birth to an amazing sub-genre of gaming that Marcus Level hopes to exploit to its fullest. Hopefully Marcus has his running shoes on, because things are about to get really speedy.

IMG_0585Bolting from left to right is kind of Marcus’ thing. He has somehow managed to become entrapped in his favorite video game. To escape before his parents come home, players must help Marcus save the princess and vanquish the evil Vipkrad. How does he do that? By running through stages as quick as possible, collecting all of the jewels (otherwise known as chocobongos), or completing a series of four other goals.

Badges, which are acquired from completing each of a stage’s five goals, are used to unlock either the boss stage or other entirely new worlds. The resulting game is a repetitive process of trial and error in order to collect enough badges to progress the campaign forward. As simple as this sounds in concept, objectives such as finding the correct path in order to clear a stage in under a minute will at times seem borderline impossible. However, once the proper line is found the sense of accomplishment is genuinely euphoric.

IMG_0577Beyond complaints about the rather strenuous badge counts hindering the game’s progress, simple concepts like a retry button are notably absent from a post-level breakdown. Given the game’s make-up it would seem like common sense that players would want the ability to run through stages multiple times in a row.

While playing, it was hard to put a finger on what Marcus Level’s structure was reminiscent of. After hearing the peppy tune that accompanied the first bonus stage, the homage suddenly becomes clear: this is essentially a less friendly version of the “Rayman Run series. All it would take is an adjustment to make stages unlock with a few less badges and suddenly the game would become just as appealing, too.

IMG_0584There are a couple of key elements working against Marcus Level that make it far more difficult to recommend than its brethren. Fortunately, the fact that it is free somewhat earns it a pass to be slightly less forgiving to players. Hopefully there are slight updates to curb the rather steep unlock cap a bit, but it’s still more than competent enough to compete with other premium priced competition on the App Store.


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