The platformer is the cornerstone of gaming. The most famous video game of all time is undoubtedly Super Mario Bros. That iconic title is about running and jumping across a 2D field. Since then, many platformers have been released. Donkey Kong Country and Rayman Legends are just two of many notable examples in the genre. Without good level design, a platformer will fail. The makers of Bloo Kid 2 understood this. Although not as notable as the all-time great platformers, Bloo Kid 2's emphasis on raw platforming makes it a fun play for all gamers.
Like many platformers, the character is limited to running and jumping. However, Bloo Kid can double jump, enabling him to reach high and wide distances. Many levels contain a fiery power-up. Upon touching it, Bloo Kid will be invincible for a short while. While the goal is to get to the end, there are things to do on the way. Bloo Kid can collect all the stars and three blue stars in every level. Defeating enemies is also an objective, as well as grabbing the ascending balloon at the end. Also, getting through the stage in a certain amount of time is an objective. Completing these optional things before getting to the goal will give Bloo Kid more stars, enabling the player to unlock bonus levels. For normal difficulty, Bloo Kid has three hearts. At the end of every world is a boss battle, putting the player's fundamentals to the test.
The story begins with Bloo Kid and his girlfriend, Pink Girl, enjoying the fresh outdoors with their newborn. Unfortunately, an evil creature arrives and steals the baby. Now Bloo Kid must journey across five worlds to save the day.
Time To Take It Old-School
Right from the tutorial "Green Hills" level, players know they are in for a treat. There's a genuine nostalgia when playing Bloo Kid 2. The opening levels perfectly situate the player with the controls, enemy obstacles, and collectibles. From there, the game becomes more challenging, introducing new types of enemies and harder platforming obstacles. The green enemies that shoot rocks added a new wrinkle to the levels, and then the fiery version made things trickier. Bloo Kid 2 is a genuine challenge on normal mode, rarely too easy, while not being overly frustrating either. Chests with hearts are put in just the right spots, as well as the checkpoint in each level.
There are five worlds in all, each with a specific theme. There's the snowy "Icy Wastes," and the more spooky "Zombie Land." Bloo Kid 2's visuals are simple, but effective in evoking a classic NES-feel. The backgrounds set the mood for the levels. The moon and gargoyle statues in Zombie Land is one example, as well as the overall castle look for Green Hills' Fortress. The level design is almost always on point. There are careful platforming jumps, and collectibles that are purposely dispersed for those looking to explore a bit.
The final area, "Sky Fortress," brought in horizontal and vertical auto-scrolling. It's a shame these two were used so late in the game, because they delivered a fun intensity. Interestingly, toward the latter part of the game are two cart levels. These were a lot of fun, but did seem to be very derivative of the Donkey Kong Country series. It's hard not to come away with the thought that winterworks just took what worked in Donkey Kong Country and copied it.
Good Boss Battles And Solid Music
Boss battles are an important element in many platformers. Bloo Kid 2's boss battles are certainly solid. The "Altered Beast" fight was perhaps the biggest highlight, due to the overall mood and fast-paced fighting. One thing needs to be mentioned though: the first boss battle, Woody, looked and behaved a little too much like Whispy Woods. Similar to the cart levels, this boss battle appears to completely derivative of a Nintendo title, this time from the Kirby series.
The boss battles are accompanied by a bombastic theme. Speaking of the music, Bloo Kid 2 features a solid soundtrack. Icy Wastes' theme in particular complemented the frosty setting. A platformer's soundtrack is important, and Bloo Kid 2 succeeds.
Some Off-Screen Shenanigans
Although the level design in Bloo Kid 2 is very good, there are some questionable obstacle placements. In one section, a player can jump to an area to open a chest. However, an unseen icicle hangs from the ceiling, completely catching the player off guard. Something like this happens a few times, leading to frustration. This is typically a bad level design choice in platformers. It's not constant in Bloo Kid 2, so it's not a deal-breaker.
Classic Platforming Fun
Bloo Kid 2 is not going to go down as the next Super Mario World. With that said, the game is very well made for the most part, aside from some off-screen obstacles. Platforming is simple and fun. Collectibles are put in places that either require careful platforming or mild exploring. There's a fantastic mixture of jumping, overcoming enemies, and swimming in Bloo Kid 2. For those desiring a tougher challenge, there's also hard mode and, later, Nightmare (There's also easy for younger players.) Upon beating the game, players gain access to Time Attack mode and a Boss Rush. Anyone looking to play a quality platformer hearkening back to the older era should give this a download right away. It's certainly worth the price of $3.99.
A Switch review code for Bloo Kid 2 was provided to TheGamer for this review. Bloo Kid 2 is available now for the Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS, and Android.