If you enjoy difficult platformers like Super Meat Boy or Moz Speedrun, you’ll want to check out Super Obstacle Boy. This games proudly displays its influence right in its title, but it delivers a solid, tough-as-steel platforming experience that fans of the genre will enjoy– even if it still needs some work.
We’re talking about a traditional 2-D platformer here, so the controls let you walk, run, and jump through levels filled with spikes, platforms, saw blades, and pits. Because the gameplay is so basic, most of the fun of the game rides on the level design. Thankfully, the levels are very well made, with a steady rise in difficulty as you progress. On paper, this is a very solid entry in the genre.
And that’s where the discussion would end if everything worked as intended. Unfortunately, the gameplay suffers from a number of bugs and an ill-conceived in-app purchase offering.
If all you’re doing is running forward and jumping, the game controls well. But it gets a little dicey when you have to navigate complex terrain. For instance, changing the direction you’re moving isn’t as simple as sliding your thumb to the other direction arrow. Instead, you have to take your thumb off the screen and press the other button. The same goes for the A and B buttons, which makes jumping while running very hard to do. I also occasionally encountered bugs that made buttons stick, or froze my character on a platform.
Perhaps what’s most annoying, however, is the dialog box that pops up when you die a few times in a row. The game asks if you want to skip the level, and if you choose yes, you’re offered an in-app purchase. This wouldn’t be so bad if it only popped up once, but it happens all the time. Single-use in-app purchases are pretty unsavory to begin with, but when a game constantly nags you to buy them, they become a real annoyance.
All of these issues are fixable, and I’d love to see them addressed in an update. Until then, however, I’ll hold off recommending Super Obstacle Boy to everyone. It’s a decent purchase for people who love tough platformers, but it doesn’t stand out in the genre as is.