Developer: Tilt Studios
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Within mere seconds of playing, Spunk and Moxie made me smile yet swear. Yes, it’s that kind of game. It’s entirely appropriate that cameos are made by characters from Spelunky, VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy, given they all share a similar level of difficulty. There’s even, currently, a $1,000 cash prize for unlocking all the stars!

Spunk and Moxie combines a few different familiar mechanics. It’s an auto runner with players merely affecting the jumping ability of the two characters, but it’s also a quite fast paced platformer akin to something like Super Meat Boy. Plus, it has puzzle based elements in terms of figuring out how to get past certain sections. It’s a very fun mix.

There’s a relatively gentle introduction to proceedings with the main obstacles being simply to get over and under relevant platforms, in order to reach the end of the level. It’s only a matter of a few levels before the threat of spikes emerges and the need for very well timed jumps becomes vital. For instance, one section relatively early on requires jumping over a number of springs while also jumping over spikes, all requiring split second reactions. It’s possible and the sense of satisfaction once achieved is great, but it will take a few times. This is a relative walk in the park given the later stages that involve leaping into barrels, a la Donkey Kong Country while dodging laser beams and all other manners of problems.

Play on Hard mode and it’s all the more excruciatingly difficult, too, as one hit by a spike and it’s game over. I’d recommend starting out on Easy or Normal, depending on reaction skills, for one’s sanity’s sake. It might sound intimidating but Spunk and Moxie is never less than fun. It mixes things up with the inclusion of color changing abilities such as the red smash attack and the orange flying move. Being able to race against the ghosts of other players sweetens the deal all the more.

Spunk and Moxie might sound brief, offering 30 levels, but it’s so much more than that. I’m hopeful for extra level packs in the future but that’s more than enough for all but the hardiest of twitch gamers. Patience is vital but there’s a heck of a lot to enjoy here.

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