Developer: Game Hive
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Imagine that a bunch of wild animals—sheep, raccoons, squirrels, you name it—have moved in and started to eat all of your grass. Oh, no…what are the native Spikies to do? This premise, of course, lays the groundwork for an awesome platforming romp in which the Spikies ruthlessly plow down giant sheep and other furry enemies while navigating grassy platforms and perilous drops. Platforming games aren’t exactly new, but Spikies takes the genre made famous by Mario and adds its own quirky, vibrant energy.

The titular species are a quirky bunch—almost like colorful porcupines. In each stage, you lead your Spikie through the map, dashing into enemies to kill them and collecting balloons to free Spikies’ friends. There are fifteen stages, each with a well-designed map; you’ll need to time your jumps carefully, as Spikie continuously runs and the stages are filled with gaps, Spikie-killing sharp points, and enemies.

Speaking of jumping, the controls are straightforward: tapping anywhere makes your Spikie jump, while the dash button in the lower-right corner triggers a dash. You can dash whilst in mid-air, too. As you unlock more Spikies (there are seven in all) you get extra abilities—the first one you unlock, for example, prevents you from setting a high score but lets you place an extra checkpoint in the level.

Besides the core gameplay, the rest of Spikies is good, too. The graphics are good, though I could do without the blurry-cartoon effect, and the sound effects actually make the game easier to play. The level designs are clever, and there are enough extra challenges—like snagging all of the balloons in a level—to keep things interesting. Occasionally I had a problem with the game lagging, but for the most part everything worked. The difficulty level strikes a solid balance: checkpoints keep it from being too frustrating, but it’s still challenging.

Spikies is another entrant into the much-loved platformer genre. It doesn’t bring many new innovations to the table—but it delivers a cute, amusing experience with a perfect difficulty level and fun, fluid gameplay. It’s no genre-maker like Super Mario Bros., but for an iPhone game, Spikies is one sweet title. If you like platformers at all, be sure to give it a go!

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