Platforms Unlimited Is An Assault Course For Your Reflexes [Review]

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When I was young, maybe between the ages of twelve and fifteen, I used to make very basic games with a friend of mine called James Brzezicki. They were almost always the simplest things imaginable: a single sprite jumping over other sprites, or a ball bouncing back and forth between two paddles. This wasn’t because we had worked out how to strip gaming down to its most base elements, but rather because it was all we could work out how to program.

Platforms Unlimited by XperimentalZ Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $0.99

Close to twenty years on, I had a very similar experience playing Platforms Unlimited for the first time. Platforms Unlimited is a minimalistic, twitch-style endless platformer. There’s one goal — jump over red enemies — and one button to do this, with the jumps increasing in length the longer you touch the screen. Your score increases for every second you stay alive, and additional points can be racked up by collecting coins, which can then be traded in for gameplay bonuses.

Gameplay is the essence of simplicity.

Gameplay is the essence of simplicity.

The first time I played I died almost immediately. The same thing happened the next time — only on this occasion I had a few moments to ponder how something so seemingly simple could, with any fairness, be classed as a game. On death number three, I considered hitting the “Home” button on my iPhone, deleting the game out of sheer frustration, and never mentioning it again.

“What [Platforms Unlimited] is … is addictive.”

But I didn’t. Instead I kept playing.

Platforms Unlimited isn’t going to appeal to every player. It’s simplistic, and lacks polish. It’s unforgiving, mercilessly hard, and since it’s an endless platformer there are no real goals to work toward — save for that all-important high score. What it is, however, is addictive — and that’s something that even the most graphically advanced iOS games can’t always claim.

Don’t believe it’s addictive? I played eight separate games on it while typing this review — each time promising that one was the last I would play.

And now that I’m finished typing, I’m going to go and play some more.

Screen_Shot_2014-02-05_at_22Game Name: Platforms Unlimited
The Good: An arcade-style game that harkens back to the classic days of the coin-op. Also a premium game, there are no IAP or ads.
The Bad: It’s massively difficult, graphically unimpressive, and relies entirely on your reaction-times, with little that can be described as forgiveness for split-second errors.
The Verdict: If the “bad” description above sounds genuinely bad to you, chances are that you won’t enjoy Platforms Unlimited. If, on the other hand, these negative traits all sound like positives, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here.
Buy from: App Store

Cult of Mac rating: 4/5

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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