When games first started coming out for the iPhone, we wondered if it would ever be possible for a great side-scrolling platformer to exist on iOS, because the lack of physical buttons seemed to make adequately precise controls impossible. Then along came incredible platformers like Soosiz, Bounce On 2, League of Evil, and Mos Speedrun, which put our fears to rest in the best way possible. Storm in a Teacup continues the tradition of top-notch platformers with amazingly precise controls, while putting its own unique twist on the gameplay.
In this game, which may or may not be named after a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, you play as the yellow-haired pilot of a hovering teacup who can move left and right, and jump. Like in most platformers, your goal is simply to reach the end of the level. Interestingly, your jumping ability is attached to an energy bar that quickly depletes as you hold the jump button. Release the button, and the energy comes back. So, by tapping and holding the jump button in various combinations, you can jump extra high and extra far. It takes practice to get the hang of, but it’s a lot of fun to use once you become adept at it.
Mechanical fish can chomp like the real ones.
The game comes with 40 stages, each one creative and different enough from the others to keep things interesting. Some levels have built-in physics puzzles to solve, some require you to pick up keys to access new areas, and all of them contain the fun platforming elements we’ve seen a many times before: pits, spikes, lava, saw blades, moving platforms, enemies, and checkpoints. It all comes together to create a gaming experience that feels familiar, yet also fun, challenging, and new.
There’s even a good deal of replay value packed into each level, in the form of achievements. You can collect all of the sugar cubes scattered around (like coins in Mario games), you can try to find the hidden lightning bolt in each level, and you can strive for a perfect run, meaning you collect all the items and finish the level without dying– no easy task.
This can’t end well.
The art style is fantastic. The environments look like they’re made of construction paper, almost reminiscent of the set of a school play. Also, the app is universal, which adds value to anyone with both an iPhone and an iPad. There’s even a survival mode, in which you’re supposed to collect as many sugar cubes as possible before either the time runs out or you get killed.
All of the parts adds up to an extremely polished, incredibly fun platformer. Besides the delightful jumping mechanic, it might not do a whole lot we haven’t seen before, but that’s not the point. The point is this: when you play Storm in a Teacup, you’re having a great time. What more do you need?