Slash, jump, block. Around those three core moves many an action-platformer has been built.
Hoppenhelm's no different. Where it is different is in the way that those are literally the only three moves at your disposal.
This is an expertly streamlined action platformer that appears to have been paying close attention to the best in the business.
Nitrome sweet Nitrome
Tobias Örnberg clearly digs Nitrome as much as we do.
Hoppenhelm doesn't just look like one of the ace developer's games, with a similarly bright and expressive 16 bit art style, it has a familiar super-honed feel to it too.
Our little knight must continually move forward through an endless dungeon, lest he be swallowed up by the rising lava. Along the way he needs to avoid spikes, slice up bats, crack open chests, enter bonus rooms, and fend off fireball attacks.
All of this is executed with just three buttons - one to attack, one to jump forward, and one to hold your shield up.
Caught on the Hoppenhelm
While minimising control complexity is always welcome in mobile games, it counts for nothing if what you're actually doing isn't fun. Fortunately, Hoppenhelm is.
There's an irresistible momentum to your knight's perpetual plodding, and the controls are perfectly responsive. Before long you'll be cutting a swathe through dauntingly packed combinations of traps and enemies, and it feels great.
Such endless games often come a cropper with a lack of payoff and a sense of aimlessness, but purchasing new weapons and knights - many of which grant special abilities - is commendably cheap using the game's currency. It's a shame the weapon effects don't vary more, however.
Just about the only other rough edge here is the presence of landscape ads in a portrait game. But who actually watches mobile ads?
Jump to it
Hoppenhelm doesn't set any new standards for the endless runner or the stripped-back mobile platformer genre, but it is a highly enjoyable time waster.
If you find yourself lapping up Nitrome's moreish arcade gems faster than the developer can supply them, this is a more than worthy tribute.