Thanks to Four Horses for the review code
Title: Kid Tripp
System: 3DS (eShop)
Release Date: 07/27/2017
This game uses pixel art. I’ve already expressed how common of a trend this is, and while I have loved games that used it smartly and do it to make a nice throwback to the retro days, here it just feels like it was done because it was the most common art style that’s associated with a platformer. The pixel art isn’t a blatant copy of the NES, but rather it looks more like a Sega Master System game due to the brighter colors and more detailed sprites. The backgrounds are a lot nicer than what you’d get with a Master System, though, and the zoomed in nature of the game makes the pixels pop a lot more than the traditional Master System game. Maybe something like the Sonic Game Gear games would be a better comparison?
The music is also retro-inspired, but unlike the basic pixel art that doesn’t really have much going for it, these tracks DO sound like they had some effort put into them, and I found that the overall soundtrack gave a European computer vibe, similar to what Blasting Agent did nearly a year ago, so at least it doesn’t get on your nerves. Oddly, when it comes to the sound effects, most of them get the job done pretty well, except for one that’s straight up lifted from Digger Dan DX, the developer’s prior 3DS eShop game. (This sound effect plays whenever you get one of the in-game achievements, if you’re curious.) Considering how that game does not use any type of retro sound effects, the difference can be very jarring when it kicks in.
Right from the very first level of the game, Kid Tripp gives you an incredibly basic control scheme that you’re stuck with for the entire adventure. The A button helps you jump, the B button throws your item, and the D-Pad can be used to adjust your speed depending on the difficulty. (although in the Hardcore setting the run button is locked to B, making it play like old NES games that made you unable to throw a projectile while running) Being an autorunner, the game moves to the right at a non-stop pace, and there’s no way to turn back unless you die, as is usual for games in this genre. What’s not usual comes from the lack of a retry option in the pause menu! Sure, it may be really easy to die in this game, but that doesn’t mean the option wouldn’t have been nice nevertheless.
When it comes to the actual level designs, Kid Tripp feels a lot like Adventure Island on steroids. The whole idea of being stuck on an island and having to fend off wildlife with a weapon while also being forced to the right is very similar to the infamous times where you’re stuck on a Skateboard in that game, and anyone who’s ever played Adventure Island knows how ridiculously difficult it is to clear an entire level without getting knocked off the skateboard. Imagine if you were on a skateboard the entire time and getting knocked off equalled death, and you pretty much have Kid Tripp.
Luckily, the levels are very short to compensate for this fact, in an attempt to give it a “try and try again” feeling, lasting at most around 45 seconds or so, so while some levels can be stupidly difficult, at least they aren’t long. What isn’t fair in the challenge department, however comes from getting a gold medal in a stage! To do this, you need to get every single coin littered about the stage without dying, which sounds like something that would be perfect for memorization, but some levels just aren’t built for this. In the first world, even when I timed my jumps and runs perfectly, the angle at which you jump can be really picky, so even if I’m on the extreme right edge of a coin I sometimes won’t get it. Thankfully, the benefit to that is that it’s fairly easy to avoid the enemies once you get a rhythm down.
Ironically, I found this less of a problem in the second world, where the game seems to shift focus to proper timing of jumping on enemies to reach the coins rather than just hoping you jump at precise angles. There are lots of lives to collect thanks to these coins, (100 will get you an extra life and since they respawn upon death… You can imagine how hard it is to get a game over if you’re persistent) so completing the main game shouldn’t be too hard with a bit of practice, although you’ll really have to deal with how to handle the ability to run in order to really get anywhere in this game.
In conclusion, Kid Tripp unfortunately lacks a soul that makes it feel unique. The autorunner aspect of it has already been perfected with the Bit Trip Runner series, and the insane precision required to get on some of the tiny platforms presented to you in the first world is quite honestly, really stupid. (Especially if you want to get the gold medals) The difficulty does get more balanced after the first world, and the short levels are perfect for pick up and play sessions, but the engagement just isn’t there. There are several in-game achievements you can go after if you so desire, but trying to get all of them is only recommended for the most patient of gamers. It’s also rather short, with only four worlds, so keep that in mind if you’re coming here for the main experience, since if you’re pretty good at these types of games and ignore the gold medal challenges you’ll likely be able to clear the game in a hour or two.
There’s really no reason to get this game if you’ve already had your fix of retro platformers, but if you don’t mind adding another to your library, or are looking for an autorunner, then Kid Tripp will get the job done. Thankfully, it only costs $4, which is a perfect price considering the length and how there are worse options that you could get with that money, so if you’re willing to forgive the issues I had problems with, then this isn’t too bad of an adventure. Just don’t expect anything fresh. I give Kid Tripp a 6 out of 10.