Given that the original Mos Speedrun is one of my favourite iOS platformers, I approached this follow-up with much trepidation. What if it didn't recapture the magic? What if this bug had been squashed?
Fortunately, Mos Speedrun 2 remains a decent - albeit extremely tough - platformer. You're still helping a bug to leap its way through nightmarish 2D worlds filled with bug-killing spikes, bees, zombies and the like.
As with its predecessor, Mos Speedrun 2 is gradually unlocked through collecting badges, won by finishing challenges that aren't possible to complete on a single run.
Getting through the entire level, finishing within a defined time limit, grabbing all the coins, and finding a hidden skull. There's also a fifth 'charm' badge for completing specific levels on certain days.
This is a smart move, because it rewards different styles of play. You can't just blast your way through the game to finish it - you also have to root about for gold, and figure out how to get to those skulls.
This bug has bite
Not that most people will be blasting their way through Mos Speedrun 2, because two things rapidly become apparent.
Firstky, this game plays very differently from its predecessor, primarily because the environments have transformed from fairly linear pathways into relatively sprawling affairs. Secondly, Mos Speedrun 2 is insanely difficult.
The second of these issues is somewhat mitigated by the inclusion of a checkpoints system, so you're not always forced to restart a level when you inevitably die.
But they're single-use, and barely reduce the frustration, especially on levels that take several minutes to battle your way through.Mos SpeedARGH
Mos's new tricks also proved divisive during testing. Swinging on ropes is quite fun, as is swimming through gloopy green jelly. The ability to push blocks adds a modicum of puzzling here and there.
But I never clicked with the game's wall-jumping controls, which force you to leap while moving into the wall, but often ask you to immediately move in the other direction. Death quite often followed.
It says something that purely by finishing level 3-6, I'm currently listed in Game Center in third place - out of five people.
This is a game that deserves to do better and have a much wider reach. The level design is often smart, and it's clearly a labour of love. But on firing up the original as a sanity check, it's faster, sleeker, and simpler.
Slow down a bit
Perhaps Mos Speedrun 2 loses part of its identity in its ambition to be something bigger. You can feel it wanting to be a full-on platforming experience, but it simultaneously doesn't want to lose the speedrun bit.
Even if, frankly, the thought of speedrunning through many of the levels I managed to complete isn't pleasant. Perhaps the checkpoints should have given you endless attempts at each section, and another mode removed them entirely.
Still, as a more thoughtful - if insanely tough - platformer than the original, it largely hits the mark, especially if you're the stubborn type who'll vow to beat a game at any cost, including your sanity.
But I can't help but feel this game's award would have shone silver or gold had it been a bit more forgiving.