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Review: Bloo Kid 2


Jonathan Higgins

Developer: winterworks

Publisher: winterworks

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Release Date: May 7th, 2015

ESRB: E for Everyone

 

 

Don“t be fooled by appearances, or by a game“s origins. I feel like properly discussing Bloo Kid 2 could beget an entirely different feature about the expectations we have about certain games, based on how they“re dressed and how they“re priced. I“m about to describe a game that started out as freeware on mobile devices, but was ported to Nintendo 3DS. Heck, just a simple Google Search for “Bloo Kid 2” pulls up the Google Play listing before anything else. Still, this is a game that truly surprised/impressed me, far exceeding my expectations.

 

In the opening scenes of Bloo Kid 2, the main character... presumably “Bloo Kid”, is sitting with his lady-friend and watches his baby get snatched away by a freaky looking gargoyle thing that looks straight out of Capcom's Demon's Crest. Similar tiny scenes play out to introduce each of the game“s five worlds. You watch Bloo Kid continue chasing after his baby as any given new enemy follows behind him. But beyond that... there“s no story to even speak of. This is an experience that relies entirely upon its gameplay and the various bits surrounding it. But... if you ignore what lies under the surface, you can finish the game in a single sitting. It“s a platformer where all you do is jump. Simply getting through the levels takes only a few hours.

 

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With that said, I“ve done everything there is to do in Bloo Kid 2“s Normal Mode, and my current playtime is just a bit over 26 hours. I don“t give very many games that much of my time these days... especially one packed full of so many references like the ones you“ll see below that most people would think, “This game doesn“t have any original bone in its body.” Everything you“ll do and see in Bloo Kid 2, even its occasional twist in level design like mine-carts and auto-scrolling levels, you“ve probably done and seen before.

 

Even its music feels more like references to certain songs than original arrangements. I thought the music for the game“s ice world sounded very similar to

from Sonic the Hedgehog 3“s Competition mode... and then one of the levels in that world actually called itself Endless Mine (clever?).

 

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Despite a lack of originality and some parts of the menus and systems giving away the fact that it began as a phone game, Bloo Kid 2 is honestly some of the most fun I“ve had on the eShop in a good while, especially for the asking price ($3.99). I“ve reviewed a good number of platformers this year, from the critically acclaimed to the slightly-too-frustrating — even one that had a unique gameplay twist fairly recently. It was refreshing to play an extremely tightly controlled experience that actually benefits from its simplicity.

 

Bloo Kid 2 has six (optional) objectives to meet within each level. You get medals corresponding with each objective: There“s a gold star for collecting a level“s 75-99 gold stars, scattered across lands like collecting every coin in a Mario level; a blue star for collecting the three hidden blue stars in each stage; and a slime medal for killing every enemy in a level. You get one if you managed to get to the end of a level with all three of your hearts (so either don“t get hit, or make sure to collect hearts when you see them).

 

And there are two more: one for collecting a balloon that appears at the end of a stage before it flies away, and one for reaching the end of a stage before the timer on the bottom screen runs out. If the timer does run out, you won“t die. Bloo Kid 2 works a lot like a Yoshi“s Island game, insofar as it gives you infinite time to explore a level looking for stars, enemies, or hearts.

 

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Collecting 100% of the medals in the game, as well as the Achievements it has, is how you can turn Bloo Kid 2 from a 2 hour experience into a 20-hour experience. And it“s worth your while to do so, because dissecting this game for everything it is versus everything it borrows from, has made me appreciate it a great deal more. Some levels are easy to complete in a set time, but the balloon at the end has you pull a borderline olympian feat to reach it with a jump mechanic that makes Bloo Kid flip through the air like he should be wearing a raccoon suit.

 

Each blue star is cleverly hidden, but not cruel. There are blue flowers in each stage to signal that a blue star is near, and you should focus on this spot for a while to solve the puzzle of reaching it. The only real annoyance I“ve had with the game is in its mine-cart levels; the momentum of the cart doesn“t feel as fine-tuned as when you“re controlling Bloo Kid himself. It“s almost like you have to relearn some controls just for the mine-cart levels.

 

Really though, winterworks has given care and attention to porting this game from mobile devices. The controls are phenomenal, and they“re even responding to feedback by adding things to make 100%ing the game feel more achievable, like checkpoints in levels and a full range of motion to make spotting certain stars/avoiding certain obstacles easier. Bloo Kid 2 may not be the most original platformer you“ve played all year, but it“s absolutely worth the asking price. And despite minor flaws, I“d recommend this game to almost anyone looking for a fun platformer that doesn“t ask too much of your wallet, or your patience.

 


Pros

 

+ Surprising amount of gameplay and secrets hidden beneath an otherwise simple premise.

+ Presentation often exceeds expectations. While not the most original enemies or levels you've ever seen, they're vibrant and well-designed.

+ Very tight controls.

Cons

 

- Nothing groundbreaking to see here. A game filled with references could have been original ideas!

- The mine-cart levels. And that's not just a matter of preference; the game's physics are different in these levels and arguably worse for it.

 


Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10)

Good

 

Bloo Kid 2 often exceeds expectations. There is a surprising amount of gameplay and depth that makes it well worth the asking price.

 

Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a downloadable code provided by the publisher

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