Really, there is little actually wrong with Bloo Kid 2. The mechanics are competent, the level designs are fun, the chiptunes are nice, the visuals are solid, and there is an impressive amount of conent for the price. Aside from the lack of a run button, and very occasional surprise deaths thanks to the small screen, it’s hard to fault the game. On all accounts, this is more than worth four dollars. The big problem is, you have probably experienced much that it offers already.
Bloo Kid 2 is a very straightforward platformer in the vein of Super Mario. You run along with the D-Pad and jump with the B or A buttons, and that is all there is to it. The lack of stick controls as an option is a bit odd, but not really an issue. Players will run through a given level, avoiding obstacles and jumping on enemies, some of whom are mindlessly walking around, while others are firing projectiles. Again, it is very straightforward; almost too straightforward.
That doesn’t mean it is not a blast, though. Indeed, what the game does with its simple concept and traditional elements shows an impressive understanding of how to design for the genre. The levels are, quite simply, fun; they are difficult without being frustrating. There are enough different types of obstacles and enemies for there to be new and compelling challenges, and no level feels like a retread. But again – this is all material other platformers have covered before.
To help legitimize the game as a successful platformer, the game does not sit back on its main mechanics. Indeed, there are bosses at the end of each world, which helps it stand out when compared to some of its indie peers. These bosses are all as well designed as the main levels, though they do draw attention to the game’s lack of visual creativity – the first boss is ripped straight from Kirby – but we’ll get to that in a bit. There are also a couple mine cart levels, which are my favorites of the game.
There are fifty levels, none very long but neither are they excessively short. For four dollars it is a tremendous value, and to make it even better, there are tons of reasons to replay the title. Each level gives players several goals to complete – collect all the stars, all the hidden blue stars, finish it in a certain amount of time, kill all the enemies, etc. There is a lot to this game, though, if you want to ignore these special challenges you can play the levels straight and have a blast doing it.
Unfortunately, unfairness is definitely present, and it is due exclusively to the small nature of the 3DS screen. Sometimes enemies cannot be seen until they are coming right at you, especially during water levels. It’s a rare occurrence, but it is annoying – made less so by the general shortness of the levels. Most are completed in less than two minutes, with no checkpoints to be found. Additionally, there were a few levels that didn’t quite hit the “challenging-but-fair” mark, for whatever reason. These are fairly sparse, though.
The visuals of the game are fantastic – it is traditional fare, but very well done, with quality settings, designs, and animations. Now, none of the character designs are particularly notable – least of all Bloo Kid himself. It does not really matter, though; this is a great game to look at in every way. Similarly, the music is unmemorable per se, but enjoyable and fitting nonetheless. I am particularly fond of the boss theme.
Ultimately, Bloo Kid 2 is an extremely compelling title for traditional platforming fans. Despite a poor name and lack of defining memorable characteristics in the main character surely hurting its commercial chances, this is a game that certainly deserves attention. It is mighty pretty with some solid visuals, good music, and extremely competent gameplay, though it’s not a particularly original experience and there are some frustrating parts. Still: for four dollars, Bloo Kid 2 is most certainly a game that deserves a look.