Whipseey and the Lost Atlas Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on Microsoft Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch
I grew up playing many 8 and 16-bit platformers and love them dearly. Recently on a holiday in Spain ran through a bar when I saw a Wonder Boy arcade machine wanting my cash. I remember playing the original Mario Brothers on the NES and it blowing my mind, it really was groundbreaking at the time. There is something magical about pixel-based platformers, let's see how Whipseey fares shall we?
Whipseey and the Lost Atlas tells the tale of a young boy who in his dreams gets transformed into a little squidgy creature called Whipseey. He must solve the mystery of the Lost Atlas, return to his previous form and get back to his bed. The story is very light, short and is told over two pixel-art cutscenes. To be fair though, it's not really what you are here for and therefore, not detrimental to the experience at all.
If you have played any platformer from the 90's you will slide straight into Whipseey with ease. It's very simple, very whimsical and rather shallow. This is not necessarily a bad thing but I do feel a bit more could have been done with the game's mechanics. You run, jump and whip your way through interconnected levels and face a boss at the end of each stage.
Your whip, your main weapon and the main feature of your character can be used in a few different ways. You can whip enemies, hover over gaps or even use it as a swing when attached to various rings dotted through the levels. It all works well but I felt the whole mechanic could have been built upon and developed over the course of your playthrough.
Sprinkled through each stage are your standard platforming collectables, health pickups to return to full health and gems from fallen enemies to give you extra lives. Whenever you get one hundred gems you are awarded another life and sometimes larger gems will fill one portion of your health. It's all very simple and typical of this game type.
One thing I really did like about Whipseey was its level layouts and lack of continues. It really did remind me of games from my youth. Levels are split into small sections that you navigate via doors and if you lose all your lives you restart the whole stage. Some people may find this irksome but I liked it, losing lives actually means something and creates tension when taking on trickier sections of the game. It's gaming in the classic sense.
That being said, a few of the hazards did annoy me somewhat, the spikes especially, were a constant thorn in my side. The hitboxes for these things seemed far too large and you sometimes did not even have to touch them to lose a life. Not even a portion of health, a full life. Once I had got used to it though it was not too bad. A few of the enemies were also annoying but you get used to them too over time.
Whipseey is very short, it is only five stages with its corresponding bosses to vanquish. It can also be completed very quickly depending on your platforming skill. You can increase your mileage though by going trophy hunting. If that is your thing then there are trophies for completing levels flawlessly and beating all bosses flawlessly. Not everyone's cup of tea but I enjoyed doing them and it added a bit more difficulty to the game and increased your playtime.
Graphically Whipseey has a very basic pixel art style, I liked it as it reminded me of games of yore but not everyone will enjoy the graphical presentation. It's the same with the music - very basic but incredibly chirpy. The whole presentation stems from the '80s or '90s, it's all very bright, happy and makes the whole experience an enjoyable one. I liked the game's presentation a lot and found it cuddly and charming throughout.