Apple Jack is at the end of his tether. Stuck in a dull, dreary office cubicle he gazes out of the window recalling his past platforming glories in a lush pastoral world – replete with pandas and giant rotational saws.
He’s had enough. He takes off his trousers. He bears his sweet orange pippin behind to his colleagues. HE’S BACK.
I don’t know whether imaginative platformers have an intrinsic link to every nostalgic gamer’s hind-brain joy button, but My Owl Software’s Apple Jack 2 really has stapled a smile onto the front-side of my fizzog. A hero of the Xbox Live Indie Games Channel, Apple Jack 2 mixes Mario 2 pluck-n-chuck gameplay with green fields, mechanised cutting implements and soothing guitar strums.
Every level feels hand-crafted in a lovably bedroom coder-y way, and its fruit explosions and the feeling of impact as hurled panda meets juddering washing machine is magnificent. Better than anything else, however, is the way that Apple Jack’s sole garment – his tie – flaps around as the naked fruit-man runs, jumps and drops.
I’ve only played the opening half an hour of Apple Jack 2, but am thoroughly aware that it’ll likely become very hardcore indeed – the feeling of buzz-saws only just grinding over Jack’s head will soon be replaced with the feeling of watching him de-pipped again and again. To avoid this, however, there’s a nifty rewind time function – with the amount of use you get from it dictated by your difficulty level.
For a mere 80MS points, however, this is a steal. The amount of Vitamin A and C (the joy vitamins) that Apple Jack has forced into my body already far exceeds the nutritional content of many XBLA titles. Highly, highly recommended.
Apple Jack 2 is now available from the oft-maligned, oft-ignored and oft-proving-everybody-wrong XBLIG service for a mere 80 MS points.