"No, Trambo, move! You stunted little berk," I scream at the iPad.

Trambo ignores me and is crushed to death by the infinite blackness of the death ray that has dogged his every step.

"Trambo, I hate you so much."

Trambo doesn't reply, though. He just reappears, all pudgy and pixely, back at the top of the level. He's proud to serve, proud to try and save the human race from the terrible death ray.

I still hate him, though. Jerk.


Trambo is a platforming game without a 'jump' button. It's an evil concoction of sudden deaths and joyous triumphs. It's about shaving fractions of a second off your time to make sure the wall of black death doesn't consume you. And it's quite good.

You press on the left of the screen to move left, and the right of the screen to go right. Trambo has tiny legs and hustles as quickly as he can, plummeting down huge drops and getting launched over gaps by bounce pads.

As well as through imminent crushing death, you can meet your maker via a number of other obstacles. Chunks will inevitably be taken out of your multi-hearted health bar until you drop dead and pop back up to the start of the level.

Turrets blap out bullets; podgy blobs scoot around the floor; pits of boiling acid wait at the bottom of drops like yellow pustules to suck in brave Trambo and make you scream with rage.

And finishing the levels isn't enough. You need to grab all three stars on each of the levels in a chunk to unlock the next chunk. And they're often hidden in places it's easy to miss on your first runthrough.


Trambo is a cruel game. You're laughed at here, poked in the eye by the difficulty spikes, dared to complete a level in a single run. But its simplicity means you'll push on, through the anguish, in part just to spite the game maker for the berating you're having to endure.

"No, Trambo," I howl, as he turns up at a bounce pad slightly too early and leaps into the path of a bullet. "Goddammit, you bobble-headed weasel."

In Trambo, Robote Games shows us all that the hero's journey is always fraught with tragedy. It's a rich hardcore dollop of pain that deserves to be played, if only because it's simple AND impossible at the very same time.