Plushed! Reviewed - A surreal 2D platformer with beautiful art

If you follow me on twitter and read the reviews in this blog you will know that one of my biggest complaints about iPhone games is the lack of a story or interesting plot. It works for some games while others don't really need it. Perhaps I'm simply tired of bad attempts.

When I previewed Plushed [iTunes Link] I was surprised,and now after testing this game I can surely say that they have put some effort in that matter. Plushed by Blacksmith games is an iPhone platformer like no other. Set in a wicked fantasy world, you are in control of a plushy bunny in search of its owner, who happens to be the princess. It is all around food, with spaghetti balls trees (similar to the flying spaghetti monster) and pizzas to tease the game creatures. 

The plot originality is one of the most remarkable elements of this production, but I also like the story flow. The player will need to talk to characters, read post notes and event get advice from its sword. Yes, the sword talks and it is the cutest thing ever! 

 

The visual style is beautiful and full of hand drawn illustration-like characters, varied backgrounds and cartoony animations that work very well together. This makes the game purely 2D and currently the aim of the developer is to add new characters and content via updates. 

 

Every chapter is different, with different goals, techniques to be used and varied scenery. So far I have played the three first levels and I have the feeling that as much as I like Plushed, there is a certain something missing. The gameplay is fair, but not perfect. Classic platformers where so basic that were easy to play and guess what one had to do. Plushed is so rich in content and surreal fantasy that you really have to get immersed to understand what to do straight away.

 The platforms, walls and objects are very nice, but they are so novel and do not get repeated in levels, so it's difficult to make sense of what they do. You know what I mean: You can jump to a platform, you can't jump a ceiling. I found it impossible to differentiated them, specially because some have odd shapes and end in edgy corners.

 

The main gameplay fault is the absence of damage  UPDATE: The latest Plushed update gives the bunny 3 lives solving the "one hit and you're dead" issue. You don't even get a second chance. There are infinite lives as well. I would like to get my character blinking indicating danger so next time I know! At least there are checkpoints so you don't loose all the progress. Some of the enemies are so cute that it is difficult to know they are harmful. A blonde girl moving around is going to kill you? I will hug you to death!

Plushed fails to deliver in that sense, but it is otherwise a cool game with lovely 2D graphics and even some minigame surprises along the way. There is no doubt that this game breeds from the real videogame classics Mario and Sonic sagas, but is missing a level of freshness, speed or freedom to move that is counter attacked with a great history. If you like games with level of detail, the amount of random stuff and crazy references is breathtaking. See the screenshots for an enemy inspired in the dancing banana forum emoticon.

 

For their first game, Blacksmith has done something really good but must need to listen to feedback to follow other successful iPhone devs that do the same. They certainly do not lack imagination nor initiative (These are the chaps who organised the AppVent calendar). The game has been release recently, and it is currently on introductory sale. I suggest you grab it since it will gain value with time.