Sometimes in the world of entertainment, a film or TV show or game is way better than it ought to be. Come Dine With Me, a show about morons hosting dinner parties, remains one of the best things on TV, while Flappy Bird, technically nonsense, recently won the hearts of millions.
Realistically, Bulkypix’s Lethal Lance won’t be anywhere near as huge as Dong’s recent effort (I should really be careful about putting “huge” and “Dong” in the same sentence), but it is somehow – somehow – bloody brilliant.
Lethal Lance doesn’t care to introduce any semblance of story, and you can forget about your so-called “tutorials” here. Tap ‘Start’ and you’re straight in at the deep end.
To be fair, it’s immediately evident from the on-screen controls what the deal is: basically you can move left and right with the arrows, while the virtual buttons in the bottom right invite you to shoot and jump. That’s it. And what more could you possibly need?
Armed with a shotgun and a life bar comprised of three hearts (you can survive two basic hits, but water and gaps will kill you outright), the aim is simply to make it to the end as fast as possible, preferably shooting baddies and collecting coins as you go.
Upon completion of each level you’re awarded up to three stars: one for reaching the goal unscathed, one for collecting all the coins, and potentially a third for beating the target time (oddly identical to the excellent Leo's Fortune, which I reviewed earlier in the week).
Lethal Lance starts off easy enough, but by the fourth world, you’ll be happy just to finish some of the levels – never mind getting three stars.
But therein lies the beauty of Lethal Lance. Having leisurely explored and completed a level with blatant disregard for the clock, you should be able to go back and put in a flawless run. Easier said than done.
And that’s Lethal Lance in a nutshell. One might complain about the lack of power-ups and/or leveling up, but to be honest, I didn’t feel like the game needed them.
It’s refreshing, too, to play a game that simply is what it is without trying to herd you into a resentful in-app purchase to make things easier.
One negative I can’t brush aside, however, is the length. With an entry fee of £1.49 and target times of around 60 seconds, you would expect more than 32 levels/four worlds, but there is the three-star replay value I described before.
On the whole, Lethal Lance feels almost like something you would’ve played on the Game Boy Color, while there are definite hints of Spelunky, too. That’s definitely a good thing.
- Somehow hugely endearing
- Perfect difficulty curve
- Ghosts with shotguns
- Really short…
- And £1.49
- Fairly shallow gameplay
Summary: If you’re looking for an old-school platformer to pass a couple of hours, Lethal Lance is exactly what the doctor ordered. Completely unremarkable on paper, it somehow shines in a world bogged down by freemium crud.
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.