Miko Adventures Puffball
Judging by the friendly and colorful artwork, I initially thought that Miko Adventures Puffball is a sweet and easy 2D platformer, mostly aimed at casual players. Oh boy, I was really wrong with that! I’m neither good at this genre, nor do I completely suck at it but after trying the game out for a bit, I reached the conclusion that it is really challenging.
The game is structured in 13 levels that are composed of several rooms each. You’ll have to go back and forth between these scenes, collecting the keys needed to unlock respective doors that will then open the path to new keys / doors, until you’ll finally be able to reach the exit. Partially a pretty unforgiving platformer due to the level design full of spikes and enemies that constantly jump at you (or attack you in groups), partially having a difficult-to-learn setup due to it’s maze-y nature, the levels clearly require practice, exploration and perseverance. On top of that, you are allowed to make more or less 3 mistakes in one level – each level starts with 3 lives, and while there are spare lives to pick up to replenish the ones you’ve lost (up to max 3 lives), these are encountered pretty rarely.
It’s not a game meant to be experienced at your own leisure – on the contrary, it’s a game in which you have to continuously retry and perfect yourself with every run. It’s aimed at players who enjoy dying over and over again until they make it and who derive satisfaction from accomplishing something after investing a considerable amount of effort.
Depending on how well you perform (time, enemies killed, diamonds collected and secrets found), each completed level will get you a bronze / silver / gold medal. There are no Steam-integrated achievements but there are some in-game challenges that push your limits even further (for example, completing a certain level without killing any enemies).
The controls are pretty good. I often have issues with the controls when playing platformers, (most of the time I struggle with them in various amounts) but Miko Adventures Puffball is one of the few games I can’t complain about. Double jumping is possible, aside from grabbing platform edges during jump or shooting enemies mid-air and these actions are all very responsive.
I love how each level feels so individualized, a separate world from the others. Each of them has a unique art style / theme that is different from the rest, with distinctive mechanics, special traps and sometimes even unique enemies. All the environments in the world of Puffball are pleasant and interesting to experience, and the music is also fitting.
Miko Adventures Puffball was developed by a single person over the course of several years. The end product is a solid platformer, yet there are many ways to further improve the game. Having an accessible map, or a shop in which you can buy rewards with the diamonds collected (or depending on the medals won) are just a few ideas (I’d love to be able to increase the number of life slots that Miko can have, or maybe being able to upgrade the weapons to stronger ones). But even in its state, it’s a game worth checking out for those who like challenging platformer games. Going through all the levels will probably take on average 4-5 hours, while experienced players (or rather those that already know where to go) should be able to complete the game in around 1.5-2h (the levels are moderately long, taking 5-10 mins each).