Not Done Yet Games's Kid Tripp is a deliciously difficult pixel-art platformer in which its creator's retro influences are clear for all to see.
The game's tough-as-nails bite-sized levels represent just the sort of challenge for which seasoned gamers have been crying out on the App Store.
Yet Kid Tripp is sufficiently accessible for anyone to be able to have a go at beating its 20 levels. Just don't expect to finish it in a single sitting.
We caught up with Not Done Yet Games's Mike Burns to discuss the influences behind the bobble-headed adventurer, and to find out what players can expect when they step into Kid Tripp's world for the first time.
Pocket Gamer: Could you tell us a bit about what players should expect when they boot up Kid Tripp?
Mike Burns: Kid Tripp's a super-challenging, fast-paced old school platformer.
The controls are pretty simple: running's automatic, so you just tap on the left to jump, tap on the right to throw a rock, and hold down on the right to sprint. It's actually pretty similar in this respect to most 2D platformers on consoles (press 'A' to jump, press 'B' to attack, hold 'B' to sprint).
I think one of the first things players will notice is that we don't really hold your hand in this game.
I always hate it when I'm playing a game and I have to mash through a bunch of tutorial menus or plod through a long dull opening just to get to the good part.
In Kid Tripp, there aren't any throwaway 'tutorial' levels or an opening splash screen. The players get to jump right into the action and discover everything for themselves.
There are some pretty obvious retro influences in the game. What was it that made you head down that nostalgic route?
Oh, absolutely, yeah. I grew up playing Mario and Sonic games on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. And a few years ago, I played New Adventure Island, with which I absolutely fell in love.
Once I decided to get into iOS development, I knew I wanted to make a homage to those classic games, and that's how Kid Tripp came to be.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the development of Kid Tripp?
Definitely the level design and making sure that everything's properly balanced. I wanted each level to look and feel unique to the player, kind of in the same way that the first world of the original Super Mario Bros. is unforgettable.
This process went on for quite a bit longer than planned because I'd obsess over silly little details. And pretty much any changes to the gameplay affected all (or at least most) of the levels.
Occasionally, for instance, I'd decide that an enemy was coming at you too quickly (or something similar). So, I'd tweak it and have to go back and adjust all of the levels in which it appeared.
There were definitely some levels that I spent entire days designing, which is a bit crazy since they're only about 20 seconds long. I threw a bunch of them out, too.
Of what part of the game are you most proud?
The physics. I'm really happy with the way it feels when you're controlling Kid Tripp. His jump is very fast and weighty. That's a trend I dislike about a lot of newer platformers - jumps are way too floaty.
Lastly, what's your one tip for players who are picking up Kid Tripp for the first time?
Sprint, sprint, sprint. Hold down the right side of the screen and sprint. It makes parts of the game much, much easier to get through.
You might be surprised to hear this, but you can beat nearly all of the levels in the game without throwing a single rock.
And, of course, enjoy it, have fun, and don't give up.