Every kid from the Nintendo generation appreciates some good old fashioned platforming action right? We're lucky enough to have some examples on the iPhone and iPad. Even if mobile versions tend to keep levels short and simple I still keep moving my head while my character jumps the same way I did years ago with my NES d-pad.
Super Lemonade Factory by Shane Brouwer wants to be another unmissable retro platformer game for your iPhone library. Set in a post World War II scenario, you help the protagonists — newly weds Andre and Liselot — to inherit this lemonade factory. Romantic? The compound is full of hazards and will remind you more of Koopa's castle than an industrial compound. The goal is to navigate through the warehouse, the factory itself and the management office avoiding obstacles and co-workers, who also play as enemies in the game.
Andre and Liselot have different abilities and play as a tag team duo. Andre can break large crates that may block your way and piggyback his wife without much effort. Liselot, more agile, possesses the valuable double-jump and can talk to people. Combining their skills is fundamental to complete every level, with Liselot usually helping her husband to reach high platforms and the man clearing the way to the end of the level.
In addition to the simple task of finding the exit of the short levels, there are two sub-objectives to complete: collect a soda bottle and a sugar bag to unlock extra content later on. Apart from the gory nature of deadly pits and walls with spikes, the game doesn't include any weapon as such. The work atmosphere is so poisonous that employees will kill you with the minimum contact. A sad realisation, since you talk to them but won't even need to stab you in the back to kill you.
For the Sword and Sworcery crowds
One of the factors caught my eye the first time I saw Super Lemonade Factory is the pixel art used. I'm a huge fan of the style and I think it complements very well the genre. I like to see the harmony in the sprites, background textures and patterns, carrying a very particular nostalgic mood. Fortunately, the music chosen is a fabulous chiptune soundtrack that could be too repetitive but that I find really fitting.
There's some narration and some character voices in the introduction of every sector, which is something I'm learning to appreciate after talking with my new friend Ray Chase, the iPhone game voice actor. The presentation is quite impressive and it ticks all the boxes.
Gameplay wise the movement and animations also carry that old-school sensation. I thought the jumps could be a bit more floaty for my taste and the controls got in the way more that a couple of times both on the iPhone and iPad. You can of course customise the position — something every game should be doing — but even after some tweaking they still felt a little slippery.
Every level is bite-sized to be completed quickly without any major problem. There is an obvious puzzle and planning element to get both characters to the exit collecting the rewards, but nothing too complex. The main reason for restarting were silly factory accidents: falling from platforms, touching co-workers and getting too close to the spikes. There are some checkpoints for both characters to avoid repeating all the sequence from scratch in this event, which is a nice touch.
There is enough content on Super Lemonade Factory to keep you going. The solving mechanics get to feel a bit repetitive but if you stop to discover the background story about the business and go for the rewards you can forgive this easily.
I'm so happy with the result that I'm keeping an eye on the next move by Shane Brouwer. This video effects artist in the advertising industry really has a good touch and I hope he can dedicate more time to iOS development in the future. For now, he has included iCade support and made some tweaks on the control scheme based on current player feedback.