Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Mikey Shorts is a brilliant little game about speedruns. Developed by a pair of people named Mike, there’s one overarching goal: get to the end ASAP. Mikey can run, jump, and slide, which allows him to go through robots (though they’re otherwise harmless) and under low passageways.
The Story mode of Mikey Shorts is entry-level challenging. Players must run past statues to free the people inside in order to unlock the energy gates throughout the levels that deter progress. This mode is not easy per se, but apply a little bit of elbow grease, and all the levels can be 3-starred, with all coins and golden shorts tokens collected. The tokens are generally hidden throughout the levels, either through hidden paths revealed by looking really closely at level textures, or placed just off-screen, accessible by platforms that are just barely reachable. There are online leaderboards for each Story mode level, so shaving off milliseconds becomes important!
The real meat of the game is Challenge mode, which tasks players with one goal: get to the end as quickly as possible, with no ulterior goals. There are coins to collect but no medals to find. Each level is designed to be as challenging as possible with small landing spots and tricky paths, with 3 stars only awarded for finishing the level with under 6 seconds (600 hundredths of a second, to be precise). There’s only one online leaderboard here due to Game Center restrictions, tracking just the total number of seconds saved. The leaderboards also integrate with Game Center in the game itself, without needing to go to the specific Game Center view. Neat!
This game would sink or swim on its controls, and thankfully Mikey Shorts has virtual controls that are extremely tight, have touch areas that are liberal enough that accidental or missed inputs are rare, if they ever happen. Getting fast times requires quick reactions, and the controls are well up to the task that the levels present. There’s also plenty of disguises to unlock with the coins that are collected, with no gameplay upgrades that can be acquired with them. Oh, and the player can race a ghost of their best time, which is Mikey in a ghost costume. It’s fantastic.
I’ve gotten absolutely hooked on Mikey Shorts. I felt compelled to get 100% in Story mode. I keep going back to play more of the 48 Challenge levels. I collect coins so I can run amok in a top hat, monocle, and duck bill because why not. But most of all, it’s the way that the game is designed to be empowering. When I make a great run through a level, it feels like I’m an expert game speedrunner, nailing every jump like the world is traveling in slow-motion. The design and controls are set up absolutely perfectly for this, and that’s why I absolutely love Mikey Shorts.