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Reed review - A hardcore platformer delivered in bite-sized chunks of agonising difficulty

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

But, like, in a good way

Product: Reed | Publisher: Crescent Moon Games | Format: iPad | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
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There are plenty of hardcore platformers on the App Store, each of them infuriating in a different way. It's strange to think how a genre that relies so much on precision has become popular on a platform that offers little in the way of physical controls.

But here we are, reviewing another one. This time it's called Reed, and it's all about what I think is a cat trying to save the world.

Yes, you've seen most of this before, from the pixel art style to the simple controls. From the spinning blades of death to the annoyingly placed spikes positioned solely to impale the unwary. But, that's what Reed sets out to offer, and it delivers pretty darn well.

Reed with teacher

The game is cut up into bite-sized levels. None of them are going to take you more than a minute to finish. Well, they're not going to take you more than a minute to finish when you manage to finish them, but they're going to take a good few tries to get to that point.

You're leaping over gaps, double jumping past obstacles, and trying to get to the spinning box that opens the exit. Once you've done that, you need to find the exit. Rinse, repeat, get a bit frustrated, try again.

There's a decent rhythm to the play, and while there are moments you're going to be on the verge of grinding your teeth to dust, it's because of the design of the levels, not the controls. They're simple, slick, and work pretty damn well.

Reed review iOS screenshot

Obviously then there's a good deal of challenge here, and Reed isn't the sort of game that casual players are going to enjoy. It's a premium experience designed to test your dexterirty and, in quite a few cases, your patience.

There's no new control mechanics here, no skills you unlock to aid you in your progression. You've got a move set, and you need to make the most of it if you want to get past the finish line.

That leads to a series of crushing lows and soaring highs. Finishing one of the small levels sometimes feels like reaching the top of a mountain, but then it's back to the bottom for the next painful does of platforming.

Reed only memory

No, Reed isn't going to be for everyone, but it's put together with such an understanding of what makes games like this tick that it's hard to find any particular fault in it other than that.

It will make you swear, it will make you scream, but it'll also make you punch the air in joyous revery when you succeed. And sometimes, quite frankly, that's all you want from a mobile game.
Reed review - A hardcore platformer delivered in bite-sized chunks of agonising difficulty
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 8 March 2018
Reed doesn't take any prisoners, and if that's the sort of experience you're after you're going to absolutely love it
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