Android Quick App: Micronytes

As long as I'm on a kick with games that make me think of movies, I've got to mention Micronytes. This is an absolutely incredible platformer that just reeks of Fantastic Voyage.

Instead of a blood clot in the brain, there are these (assumedly evil) green, anthropomorphized green blobs munching on all the tasty red stuff inside of an unnamed victim. How to defeat them? Send in some rotund, faceless gents in all white suits to eradicate the problem.

Join me after the break to see just how detailed this adventure becomes.

To be fair, from what I've gathered, you're not actually a crack team of scientists (a la Fantastic Voyage) that shrinks yourselves down, but actually a bunch of incredibly expendable antibody-esque agents that get transmitted via IV into the sick. You also don't have a set time limit before you turn giant, but otherwise, it totally feels like Fantastic Voyage: The Game.

You do get to fly around in a space bodyship, though. All right, onto the gameplay.

Gameplay has a single purpose: run over the angry green blobs. They're usually at the end of a stage, and every stage is a puzzle. The game is broken up into four episodes, 20 levels per episode. You're going to think that the first few levels in episode one are laughably simple, and they are.

You run left or right, jump when appropriate, and can even slide down walls. The control mechanics are simple and for the most part, responsive. Fortunately, right when Micronytes would become redundant, the game gets harder.

Take level seven in episode one, if you will. You jump up a tall wall only to be put in the awkward position of trying to slide down the other side of it without accidentally jumping off to your guaranteed demise. This level was almost a dramatic leap in difficulty from the level prior, but if it hadn't had offered this kind of challenge, I would have gotten bored. You can see my current Micronyte looking at a former Micronyte's failed attempt up there.

Speaking of being able to see your deceased bodies, it's something Micronytes seems to take pretty great pride in. When the developers of this game, Gibs and Gore, sent me my review unit, they sadistically cheerfully told me to be "prepared to die, a lot!" And die you will.

Almost anything colorful can kill your Micronyte and for that reason, it makes sense you have unlimited lives and unlimited tries on anything. Also for that reason, the developers put an incredible amount of detail into the variety of ways your guy can die, be it from acid, falling from too high a distance, or these purple, wavy flagellum that hug you a bit too tight. Seeing all the ways to show your Micronyte his maker is almost a game in itself.

Back to the escalating difficulty, here is a picture from a level in episode four. All seems well. There's blocks to jump on, acid to avoid, and flagellum on the level above you to avoid.

However, these are no ordinary blocks. Blocks with this strange symbol on them disappear after a time, which means you've got to haul tail across the acid to make sure you don't get eaten up. (If you look carefully, you can see a skeleton of mine before the first block.)

This is the also a level in episode four, that normally has two rows of disappearing blocks that you have to jump between left and right to advance upward. If you don't time something right, your only option is to be devoured so you're granted a new Micronyte to try with. It's challenging, frustrating, and ultimately genius by the developers. There's no easy way out and no cheat codes. Just you, a Micronyte, and your own ingenuity on overcoming a series of puzzling environments.

My only criticism of the game would be the control schemes. Gibs and Gore pack in two methods, as a way to meet the needs of all their players, but it's the (un)responsiveness from time-to-time that can hurt the overall experience.

The first control method uses an on-screen joystick and jump button and you use those to move to-and-fro. I used this method a little more than half the time but found that when I was having to wall-jump from one direction to the other, the joystick usually didn't move fast enough, either causing me to restart my jump or sending me on a long fall to my demise.

The second method loses the on-screen displays and lets you hold your finger on the left or right side of the screen to move. This is actually incredibly responsive and intuitive, so I like it. What counters that is how finicky the shake-to-jump mechanic is. Props for giving players the ability to calibrate the amount of shake they need to jump, but in my experience, no matter how long you painstakingly try to calibrate your shake power, you'll find yourself either missing crucial jumps or jumping every few steps.

Overall, I would still recommend this game to anyone who plans on gaming on their device. It's got the same addictive qualities of Angry Birds with a much more slamming, big band jazz soundtrack. The gameplay is smooth and entertaining and really makes for a unique (and awesome) experience. Put away the Game Boy emulator. Super Mario can wait.

It's Micronytes time, and at a mere $2.50 for a game that's going to continually get improved and updated, it's a small price to pay.

Joshua Munoz