It doesn't seem as though it should be all that difficult to make a good 2D platformer.
Create a likeable character, lovingly place some floating platforms, and toss some primary colours about. Bosh. Job done.
But there's a reason that Mario hasn't encountered a serious challenger for his platforming crown over the last 25 years. It turns out that this genre is an extremely tough nut for developers to crack, and Nintendo seems to be one of the few with access to the secret recipe.
The speed and momentum of the main character have to be just so; the controls have to be perfectly responsive; and every jump has to feel satisfying yet predictable.
With KiKORiKi on Android, HeroCraft gets all of these things wrong.
From Russia with love
Instead, KiKORiKi's flat characters glide through flat settings, colliding into obstacles in a glitchy way as they go. The inconsistent collision detection makes dispatching enemies a frustrating chore. And the sluggish controls only add to the sense of irritation.
To HeroCraft's credit, KiKORiKi features a colourful cast of playable characters, all drawn from the Russian animated TV show on which the game is based.
But although each oddball character boasts its own special ability, they are all hamstrung by the same lightweight, frictionless movement that makes the game's core platforming so unsatisfying.
What's more, if you use your special ability too often, you're presented with a galling on-screen prompt in which you are invited to open your wallet in return for a few turbo dashes or ultra-jumps.
Money-grubbing tactics aside, KiKORiKi is actually a fairly likeable game. There's a wholesome charm to proceedings that's only enhanced by the family-friendly level objectives written out in wonky English.
Unfortunately, that charm quickly fades once you take control of the action.
KiKORiKi just isn't a particularly enjoyable gaming experience. It's somehow floaty, sluggish, and unresponsive all at once. And no amount of Eastern European allure can make up for those dodgy fundamentals.