Anybody who knows videogames is familiar with Nintendo’s Mario franchise, the most popular in the industry. Known as the grandfather of platformer games, Mario did a lot of things right: catchy music, a wide variety of level design and gameplay mechanics, power-ups, and a steady learning curve. Ricky, which is a blatant knock-off of this classic series, is quite the opposite.
To start, the game steals ideas straight from the Mushroom Kingdom. Some of these include the rounded hills with eyes, 1UP mushroom icon, pipes with Piranha Plants, and Koopa Troopas. Even Ricky himself looks like an obsessive Mario fanboy. In fact, there is really nothing original at all about this game.
What is even worse is that the entire game looks like a bad cut and paste job. The environment is just the same few tiles placed next to each other, over and over again. You can even see the lines between each tile, marking how long it is. The background image stays still throughout the entire level, meaning when you walk or jump, the perspective doesn’t change.
The Hills Have Eyes
To make matters worse, enemies will walk along paths randomly. In a side-scroller like this, it is important for the player to have a clear idea of where enemies will move in order to successfully proceed.
There are also only a couple of enemy types, which stay the same throughout the game. Ground enemies can always be killed by simply jumping on their head, and unlike in the Mario games, Koopas don’t leave behind a shell. Bosses can be killed the exact same way.
Ricky encounters some enemies that move up and down, such as the spiky ball and Piranha Plants. However, even these show a lack of attention to detail and polish. You’ll often see them popping underneath the ground and pipes, which is pretty sloppy.
The environment can also be inconsistent. For example, the movable metal blocks tend to stick to the ground a lot. Plus, clouds can occasionally be used as platforms, while other times they are just scenery. If the developer added some way of knowing the difference, it wouldn’t be a problem, but as things stand we found ourselves dying a lot due to this oversight.
What’s that penguin doing with that whip?
The controls in Ricky are simple (touch-buttons for left, right, and jump) and overall tend to be responsive, but they became clumsy by not allowing for smaller jumps. When you press the jump button, all gravity seems to disappear and Ricky is sent hovering in the air for a few seconds. Due to this lack of control over how high he jumps, we often found ourselves smashing into higher platforms and enemies, making the game unplayable at times.
A nice, quick pace was something that Mario had down pat in his games. But in Ricky, the title character strolls along levels like a walk through the park. While it’s good for laughs, the actual gameplay suffers because of it.
If there is one redeeming quality about Ricky, it’s the sheer amount of levels (around 75, plus four bosses). Still, chances are you won’t want to play more than the first few before deleting the game from your device. Spend your money elsewhere, regardless of the price of this game.