Mikey Shorts

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Putting together a great video game is a strange kind of alchemy. Getting the right mix of visuals, music, story and gameplay is a tricky proposition. All too many developers get it wrong, investing millions in games that look good on paper – with brilliant graphics and high octane thrills – but somehow lack in inspiration. On the other end of the spectrum are games like Mikey Shorts.

Mikey Shorts looks like a dog’s dinner, with graphics reminiscent of Mario but much less charm. The controls are incredibly simple and the music is classic chip tune. And yet somehow Mikey Shorts is greater than the sum of its parts. Much much greater.

With no real story to speak of, you star as Mikey, and your goal is to run as quickly as possible from the start line to the finish. Along the way you collect coins which can be traded for weird costumes in the store (antler ears anyone? Phantom of the Opera mask?). In story mode you also have to touch ossified figures to bring them back to life – these act as checkpoints along the way.

Getting to the finish line is rarely too taxing – the fun comes once you have laid down a few good times and go back challenge yourself to do better. With the option of watching the ghost of your best run, you will soon find yourself in a manic solipsistic race with yourself, finding fractions of seconds here and there to improve on your previous personal best.

It is so simple, and yet so compelling. I haven’t felt as psychotically obsessed with a game in ages. Here is proof that the best games often come in small packages. Alchemists of old would have marvelled at Mikey Shorts’ ability to spin pedestrian video gaming elements into purest gold.

stars5
Publisher: BeaverTap Games
Platform: iOS
Age: 4+
Price: £0.69

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