If you’re a fan of Flappy Bird and the innumerable clones that have come into the Play Store market since, you may really like Punch Up, a newer game from the French developer M.Pomme Studio. It can be downloaded for free in the Play Store.
You play as ‘Punchy’, a small square ninja-in-training. That’s not terribly important; what is important is that you can only move Punchy left-to-right given a certain mechanic offered by each level. For example, the 1st level allows you slide along the ground left or right in short bursts. The 2nd level allows a similar burst, but at an angle governed by a constantly-rocking arrow.
Through each level there are coins to collect for several purposes: the main one being buying new lives (more on that in a bit), with others being customizing your Punchy character.
The danger in the game comes from a multitude of sources. In the 1st level, it’s stalactites quickly growing out from and falling from the ceiling. These things are so dangerous because getting struck from just a single falling stalactite equals instant death, requiring a re-start from the beginning of your current level. The added trouble is that these fallen spikes can quickly become additive….meaning that as more and more spikes pile up on the ground, it becomes more difficult to move against these; making staying alive that much more difficult. On each level you’re given a certain amount of time (1st level is 30 seconds) in which to simply survive. Get to 0, and off to the next level you go! After completing the 1st level, you go to a memory-style mini-game. Several different shapes of varying colors flash before you. You’re then asked to pick the color of a certain shape (i.e.; what color was the star?). Guess right and off you go to the next level. Guess wrong and you’re given two choices:either buy a new life to retry for 300 coins, or choose die and start over 1 level back.
Throughout the game there is never a moment to relax; you are always fighting to stay alive. That is probably the biggest compliment I can give to a game that is aiming to provide just that kind of experience.
What We Liked
- Spot-on controls: your character goes exactly where you want when you want. Zero perceptible lag is visible.
- Simple but addicting gameplay: In the traditional vein of Flappy Bird, you will die often, and each time you will tell yourself “I can do this; one more try!”. But you likely won’t.
- Pleasing arcade-style graphics: Nothing crazy here; just good colors, detail, and animation that fit the game’s overall style.
What Could Use Improvement
- Difficulty: I know, I know: it’s supposed to be hard. But good grief….
- Sound: Maybe a little more punch with sound effects, but I’m nit-picking here.