They Need To Be Fed 2 is a next-generation platformer that tosses aside flat worlds and replaces them with small planetoids and gravity. While we’ve seen this style of game before, They Need To Be Fed 2 improves upon the initial concept by focusing on the gameplay and the level design. This game features seven different worlds, each filled with challenging maps and unique obstacles.
They Need To Be Fed 2 doesn’t bother with story or characters. All you need to know is in the title. You control a small, unnamed hero whose only goal is to jump into the mouth of a large, chomping plant. However, that is rarely as easy as it sounds.
As you would expect, your hero and the chomping plant start on opposite sides of the map. Early levels have you guide your hero from planetoid to planetoid to get to the plant. Your only available action is to jump. Since each planetoid has its own gravity, when you jump close enough, you’re “caught” and brought down to the new planetoid rather easily. But this is only the beginning.
As the levels advance, you also need to find a seed, hidden somewhere in the level, that will cause the plant to grow. While the controls never change, the environments do. You’ll gain access to sprouting plants, whose leaves can bounce you out of your planetoid’s atmosphere and towards other planetoids farther away. You’ll also find plants that can shoot out puffs of air, causing your platform to move or spin.
They Need To Be Fed 2 doesn’t feature regular enemies, like a traditional platformer. Instead, it’s full of deadly obstacles that you must avoid. Some planetoids shoot out spikes at timed intervals, and others have spiky spheres that rotate around it. You will also find missiles that get stuck in orbit and circle you around a planetoid. Your hero has unlimited lives, but one hit sends your hero back to the beginning of the level or the nearest checkpoint.
You can also collect diamonds, which are scattered throughout each level. Diamonds aren’t needed to complete the level, but they unlock new areas of the game, as well as an Epic Mode. Epic Mode amps up the difficulty, adding in new challenges to the existing levels and removing the mid-level checkpoints.
The game has simple virtual button controls, but it took us a while to get used to them, since the movements aren’t simply left or right. Instead, they’ve been replaced with clockwise or counterclockwise arrows. These aren’t your typical controls, because you can walk all the way around each planetoid, causing left to become right or right to become left. It’s the only way the game could work, but you’ll need to take your time with learning the physics here.
They Need To Be Fed 2 also has a great visual style. Each level features a brightly colored background, while your character, the chomping plant, and the planetoids are monochromatic. It looks great and doesn’t distract from the gameplay.
Without a doubt, this sequel is one of the more mind-bending and clever games we’ve seen in a while. Each world is full of weird personality that keeps the game lighthearted, while also featuring some pretty difficult platforming. Casual players may be turned off by the game’s difficulty, but more hardcore fans of the genre will find this game a delight.