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DynamoKid Touch

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Running out of patience

Product: DynamoKid Touch | Developer: OrangePixel | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 2.0.1
DynamoKid Touch iPhone, thumbnail 1
Everybody likes a sequel - until it actually turns up.

No matter how much effort the developer puts into a follow-up, nine times out of ten it leaves you disappointed - too much is changed or, conversely, too much remains the same.

It's an especially rare talent for a sequel to actually improve upon its source material, which is why it's sometimes best to leave the hard graft to others and let rivals attempt to serve up a worthy successor.

To all intents and purposes, DynamoKid Touch is a spiritual successor to Canabalt. The name is different, the look is different, and even the gameplay is a touch different, but Orange Pixel's endless runner is most definitely a game heavily influenced by the title that arguably gave the genre its kickstart.

Jumping for joy

The basic premise behind the game is one area where DynamoKid Touch doesn't deviate much from its inspiration. You control DynamoKid as he runs at breakneck speed for ... well, for no good reason whatsoever, really.

With his running taken care of, your only impact on his progress is to determine when he jumps. A tap on his noggin causes him to leap into the air and hopefully over any pitfalls he encounters.

Such perils are many. While Canabalt drew a line at jumping, here you also have control over numerous other elements. Enemies, for instance, can be eliminated with a tap, while falling boulders can be crushed in the same manner. You can even paint into existence invisible platforms with a stroke.

Each of these elements would be manageable on its own, but lumped together they're like spinning plates.

Sapping from Sonic

The attempt to stretch what was admittedly a limited set-up makes the DynamoKid Touch an interesting experiment.

While the goal is simply to last as long as you can – scores are uploaded to a global leaderboard, whether you last five seconds or five minutes – the game seems to want to do much more. It's almost as if DynamoKid Touch was originally envisioned as a full on platform title - albeit one of the hardest on the planet, with only one life provided.

Level design feels like it's been lifted from 8-bit platformers of old, with stages getting more and more complex the longer you last. There are stars to collect, falling platforms aplenty, sliding ledges to leap between, and a general assortment of platform staples that wouldn't look out of place in a Sonic or Mario game.

Die another way

The fact that DynamoKid Touch makes contact with an enemy or an ill-timed leap fatal is all the harder to digest.

Given that such demises are often not your fault, either – the game has a habit of misreading your input, particularly when it comes to touching DynamoKid himself - death comes with a particularly nasty aftertaste.

Even the fact that you specifically have to tap DynamoKid himself to make him jump, rather than simply anywhere on the screen, is an annoyance. It's a set-up that exists, of course, because of the variety of inputs involved in play, but the fact that it never entirely feels natural suggests Orange Pixel hasn't struck the right balance.

Such grievances only serve to highlight the crucial difference between Canabalt and its successor-in-waiting: while it was very hard to put the former down, DynamoKid Touch stretches the endless runner genre beyond its means, which results in a promising but flawed title.
DynamoKid Touch
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 26 May 2010
DynamoKid Touch has neither the instant appeal of Canabalt nor the breadth of play of a full platformer to make it fully satisfying
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