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Lethal Lance

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

A nice bit of old fashioned

Product: Lethal Lance | Publisher: Bulkypix | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Platform, Retro, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Lethal Lance iPhone, thumbnail 1
Given the title of this game, Lethal Lance, you'd be forgiven for expecting some kind of semi-violent zombie-wasting shooter, or maybe a mid-level hack 'n' slash. You'd be forgiven, but - as usual - you'd be wrong.

What we're actually looking at from publisher Bulkypix (and developer LL Team) is an old school platformer that embraces its retro roots tightly.

A little too tightly, perhaps, leaving its heritage gasping for air - though it's all done out of love.

Lovely Lance

It actually feels kind of mean labelling Lance as "lethal." His game, after all, is ultra-cute, and you never really feel like the action is particularly menacing. Even being skewered on the many spikes dotted around the levels is handled nicely.

You're sent out on a very traditional platformer path, collecting up stars as you go, avoiding enemies, and trying not to fall in the water. Get to the end of the level and you've done what the game intended. Simple and classic.

Certainly the first world is pretty pedestrian, and anyone who's spent time researching classic platform games (or remembers them from when they were new) will coast through the overly simplistic stages.

The game does pick up the pace as the levels get longer, and although this should probably happen much sooner the jump-and-shoot gameplay eventually begins to captivate.

Your challenges are few and uncomplicated. Coins are dotted around the environments, and so a bit of exploration is required if you want to collect every single one. The levels are dotted with inoffensive enemies that are typically dispatched with a single shot or a jump on the head.

Lance's bits

Not to labour the point, but Lethal Lance really is a return to the old ways in every respect. Every pixel screams "retro platformer", to the point that it's easy to believe the developer deliberately avoided adding any new elements to the established gameplay pattern.

If it weren't for the colourful, smooth-lined graphics we'd place the game squarely in the pixellated realm of 8-bit revivalism, but the cheerful ska-like soundtrack and clean visuals bring it closer to a 16-bit recreation. If there were such as thing as a 12-bit platformer, that's where Lethal Lance would belong.

The controls make use of on-screen buttons - not always a popular choice, but there are only four ('left', 'right', 'shoot', and 'jump') so it's not a hindrance, even if movement is a little vague at times. To compensate, the game supports iOS 7 controllers, so it's hard to complain too much about button shortcomings.

Hats go off to the developer for choosing to dedicate Lethal Lance so completely to the old school, and 23 years ago this would have been an instant classic.

As it is, retro gamers will find themselves smiling involuntarily at every recognisable nod to the past, where more contemporary players might struggle to keep their attention on the screen long enough to uncover the game's real charm.
Lethal Lance
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 2 May 2014
An honourable homage to platform games of the past, and what it lacks in originality it makes up for in charm
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