Review Make Action! PicoPicoMaker
Edit the levels in a strange platformer
Author: Tariq Abdulla
Date: 12 Apr 2017, tested on HTC One S
Unusual game design, interesting levels, unusual game play
No significant shortcomings
PicoPicoMakerEx for Android is a Super Mario type game where you can design levels yourself, and play levels that other players have made. As soon as you finish making your level, you can play it, and if you can finish it then it's ready for you to publish. The levels all fit within a box, meaning you need to make good use of height in designing levels. You can fall out the bottom of the box (and die) or jump out the top.
There's a full complement of Super Mario style elements: bricks you can break through, ladders, pipes, bricks win chains of lava spinning around them, one-way traps, trampolines, lava, water, canons, moving spikes, ghosts, teleportation holes, moving blocks, keys to unlock the finish flag. Even potions that do things like make you invincible, give you the ability to fly, or slow you down. You can adjust things like timing and elements to create dangers that pop out one after the other. You can change the background, which sets the theme for a level, including the music. To help you design levels quicker you can add things one by one or slide to add them.
There's also a loads of preset levels to work through, and these are really well designed, providing a highly satisfying challenge. You can play them in any order right away. You have to be happy just playing them for the sake of it. PicoPicoMakerEx is the coolest thing I've seen in ages, and is letting me relive my childhood, with even harder levels this time around.
Great level editor, but not a good platformer
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 26 May 2017, tested on HTC One M8
Features a great level editor, the level editor leaves very few limitations
The graphics look extremely dated, and not in the good way, the on-screen controls are a joke, the controls feel absolutely terrible
While it might not have been the very first platforming game to come along, Super Mario Bros. is definitely considered the grandfather of not only platformers, but also modern video games in general. Surprisingly, we don’t see many of its clones nowadays. PicoPicoMaker for Android is a mobile platform that decided to prove me wrong.
This is a game that is more than a simple Mario clone, but at the same time, it’s less than that. Stages are single screens and completely user made. This means that while platforming is its core mechanic, each level is designed more like a puzzle platformer than anything else.
The level editor has quite a few different tiles and options you can use to create a level however you please, and there aren’t that many limitations to it. It offers a base set of levels that really showcase what you can do with the editor, and a lot of them are quite difficult.
However, the level design isn’t alone to blame for its difficulty. The game’s controls are absolutely abhorrent and jumping makes you feel like a feather when you first jump, but then you feel much more like a bowling ball as you’re coming down. This makes adjusting to the jump speed kind of difficult because you’re always having to account for two types of jumping speeds.
PicoPicoMaker doesn’t really have a whole lot going for it because it lacks all of the charm of the original and does nothing to try and modernize the formula. For example, the graphics look almost just like they did back in the NES era. The controls are also really bad and make the game largely unfun to play. The level editor is perhaps the only real redeeming quality to the game.