Mos Speedrun, Physmo’s cute new platformer with an old-school look, is now available from the app store. You’ll need to don your exploratory cap, lace up your running shoes, and have darn-near-perfect anticipation and timing if you want to conquer this game.
Mos Speedrun Pros:
- Multiple objectives in each level ensure that you’ll need to play again and again
- Cool soundtrack
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
- Level design encourages exploration
Mos Speedrun Cons:
- Default control scheme is awkward and confusing at first
- Not many levels at launch, bonus levels not integrated into game
- Graphics look too muted or washed out, has a drab appearance
- No way to access GameCenter from within the game
- Little replay value once 20 levels have been conquered
Mos Speedrun contains 20 levels, each with the same 4 objectives: reach the goal, collect all coins, find the hidden skull, and beat the target time. To accomplish this, you must wrestle with the less-than-desirable-yet-still-serviceable controls to help Mos, a ladybug-like insect, avoid the various dangers lurking within the levels. It’s very reminiscent of another of our favorites, League of Evil, with its goals of finding a hidden object, besting a level time, and accomplishing the goal task (in its case, killing the scientist). As with LoE, you can’t finish all tasks in a single run, but the game will continue to record a task as completed once you’ve satisfactorily accomplished its requirement. You’ll need several runs to go back and complete the other tasks that you previously failed. The most difficult seems to be the speedrun, as you’ll need to run through the course a few times to get the general layout, then burn through a few more to work on timing and perfecting the necessary moves. The par times can be a bit unforgiving, requiring near-perfect runs with minimal hang-ups in order to earn the elusive timer icon for the level.
The path to finding the hidden skull usually takes you through a portion of the landscape, though the secret entrance is a slightly different color than the rest of the surroundings. Sometimes the skull can be seen as you run the course; other times you’ll need to go in a completely different direction or access an out-of-the-way offshoot of the beaten path to find it. Similarly, most coins are visible and reachable from the normal path, but if you can’t seem to find those last few coins, you’re likely looking in the wrong places. The goal is a red rectangle that resembles a skinny phone booth. You only need to run through it to finish the level and solidify and achievements you’ve earned. The enemies aren’t greatly varied and don’t offer much of a fight, but they’ll ruin a great run on you time and time again. In the early stages, there is a green staggering zombie that stalks back-and-forth, a bug that hovers in an up-and-down pattern, and spiky white plants on the ground. Latter levels contain fish, robots, lava, and other odd creatures and environmental hazards.
Graphically, the game has an old-school look, with muted colors and a bit of a drab presentation. Level designs are pretty good, offering out-of-sight areas to hide the skulls and some easily missed areas that promote exploration to discover. The chiptune soundtrack is sort of a retro/arcade mix that isn’t half-bad, but it can be a little much to take after a while. The controls offer two schemes: the first requires you to hold the side of the screen that you want to move toward, with jumping initiated by touching your other thumb to the screen at the same time. This isn’t a terrible control method and with some practice might even become desirable, but it’s very confusing and frustrating from the get-go and is likely to turn off gamers who don’t realize that a second set of controls is available. This set has left and right arrows for movement and a dedicated jump button. It’s a more standard control method and it makes the game instantly more playable, though quick successive jumping is a bit difficult.
Replay value is fairly limited in its current state, as there are only 20 levels out of the gate. There are some bonus levels available via QR codes found online, but this is a hassle to track down and would be more user-friendly if they were available in-game. Reaching each level goal should only take a couple of minutes worth of replays, with several more required to obtain all items. There are ghosts of your previous runs to help you gauge how you are doing compared to previous runs, but Mos Speedrun doesn’t just give you your one best ghost. They’re all there and things can get hectic quick. You can turn this off in the options, but it’s actually kind of fun to watch. GameCenter integration brings leaderboards for 4 specific boards (one from each level of 5) and a couple dozen achievements, but we can’t find a way to access them through the game itself. For $1.99, Mos Speedrun is a fun diversion that could use some more content, lest it topple into the realm of played, beaten, and forgotten games. As it stands, it’s a very solid 3.5-Dimple effort.
Mos Speedrun Review,