Developer: Pokono
Price: FREE ($0.99 for full unlock)
Version Reviewed: 2.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Omino is a retro-styled platformer that looks suspiciously like the old Mario games. Its quaint graphics and basic run-and-jump mechanics might woo some platforming fans, but Omino suffers from too many crashes and simplistic level designs for my tastes.

Omino places you in charge of a tiny, fleet-footed boy in a colorful, platform-ridden landscape. Though there are no instructions, it’s pretty clear what you do. Arrows in the bottom-left corner allow you to run; another button in the bottom-right is for jumping. Your goal, apparently, is to travel across the screen (left-to-right, of course!) while collecting as many little bullseyes as possible. (Though I can’t figure out if they do anything, bullseye-collection is a nice challenge.)

The levels are pretty basic: a few enemies, none of which seem aggressive but will still kill you on contact; gaps of instantly-lethal water; and a scattering of platforms, both levitating and stationary. What makes the Mario games great, however, are the insanely fun level designs. Omino’s levels are much more basic. The lack of puzzles, secret passages, difficult stretches…sure, Omino can be challenging at times, but it’s usually a simple matter of timing your jumps.

A few power-ups are present, too. Hitting a red/blue block with your head may reveal a red or blue hat. Red hats let you throw fireballs; blue hats let you walk on water. Both are useful, but not exactly revolutionary.

And then there’s the quality of the app itself. The graphics are nice, if small; the soundtrack is fittingly retro, though the loop is rather short. But worst of all is the fact that Omino, well, crashes. Usually once per level or so, at least. And that’s simply aggravating. iOS 4.0 or even 3.1.3…it doesn’t make a difference.

Overall, Omino is a decent attempt at an old-fashioned platformer. The art is spot-in, the controls are shockingly good, and the game feels like it ought to be fun. Ought to be, anyway. For me, the crashing coupled with the simplistic level designs prevent it from approaching Mario’s greatness. Still, if you’re a fan of old-school platformers, give Omino a try; the first two levels are free if you want to give it a go.

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