iLounge Game Spotlight: 2-Bit Cowboy
Do you miss the Nintendo Game Boy era of portable gaming? Does anyone? Crescent Moon Games is banking on an affirmative answer with its new platformer, the monochromatic 2-bit Cowboy ($1), which certainly does look a classic Game Boy game. Your taste for the game’s look will be determined by how much greenish, pixelated nostalgia appeals to your own eyes.
Players start the game by picking a cowboy or cowgirl and they’re off, thrown into a wacky Western world. You’re armed with a gun to dispatch your foes — many of whom require multiple shots to finish off. Your character can also jump, double jump, and jump off walls repeatedly to effectively scale anything. It’s a neat gameplay touch. Controls are taken care of with onscreen buttons: left, right, B for shooting, A for jumping, and another action button will pop up from time to time to enter doors or jump on a horse. Yes, you can ride a horse — or a bull — for a short amount of time until it simply disappears.
The controls in 2-bit Cowboy are fine. They’re responsive and uncomplicated. It’s what you’re doing with those controls that takes the fun out of the game. Because most enemies are going through their own patterns, unconcerned with what you’re doing, you’ll find yourself standing still and tapping B until they’re vanquished. The process is then repeated. Unless, of course, you don’t feel like shooting enemies. You can always just make a few jumps over to the exit to move onto the next level.
Level design is our biggest issue with 2-bit Cowboy. So much is unclear in this game. You can spend your time shooting things and picking up coins for rewards. But once you die, you’ll lose the coins gained in your most recent life. Pretty soon, you’ll wonder what the point of picking up the coins is in the first place, and you’ll realize there really isn’t a great reason to do so. Especially when you see how the levels are designed. Often, a few quick jumps will get you to the exit, if you don’t want to explore. After a few levels, there don’t seem to be any surprises in store, so why explore? To shoot at random scorpions? It quickly begins to feel pointless. There’s no time limit, no tough enemies, and no real danger. The best classic platform games weren’t like this at all — you had to work to complete a level.
The game does its best to add some depth. Players can pick up poster challenges placed throughout levels to earn rewards — thrilling challenges like “destroy all bottles” or “kill the bats.” A welcome old-school touch is found in the game’s little buildings, as you can stop into a doctor’s office, saloon, or casino. Like most of the game, we wish these extra elements gave us something more to do, like a fun mini-game. But no. You buy an item or spin a wheel and move along. Characters can also use accumulated coins to change their look — add a mask or a beard to your character, for instance. If you squint, you’ll be able to see the difference.
Misguided nostalgia is an issue in both life and art. People cling to strong feelings for things that, when revisited, don’t hold up. There are definitely legitimate reasons to love old games, but for us, the ugly Game Boy style isn’t one of them. If 2-bit Cowboy were a blast to play, this would be a minor trifle, but the game feels aimless. Yes, it’s cheap, but there are plenty of better options in the App Store — even for free.
iLounge Rating: C
- Blockr, Chesh, Sago Mini Babies, Puzzle & Glory + more
- Apple adds transit directions for Boston, Sydney
- Apple rolls out app thinning in iOS 9.0.2
- Adobe releases Photoshop Fix, Capture CC apps for iOS
- New Philips Hue Bridge supports HomeKit, Siri
- 80 Days, Microgee, Tweetbot 4, Burstio, Evernote, Google Photos
- Happy Columbus Day + Canadian Thanksgiving!
- Apple now selling SIM-free iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
- AT&T opens up Wi-Fi calling for iPhone
- Battery impact of Samsung vs TSMC A9 chips overestimated? (Update: Apple response)
- Apple TV, iPad Pro to be sold online in late October, in stores early November?
- iBooks adds exclusive enhanced editions of Harry Potter series
- Report: Barclays to launch Apple Pay support in the UK early next year
- Apple reveals Beats Pill+ speaker
- Antitrust monitor: Apple is ‘its own worst enemy’
- Report: Apple holding $181.1 billion in offshore tax havens
- Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 Bluetooth Speaker
- Parrot Airborne Night and Airborne Cargo Drones
- Griffin Survivor Journey and Survivor Summit for iPhone 6/6s
- Parrot Jumping Night and Jumping Race Drones
- Trident Case Aegis Pro Case for iPhone 6/6s
- Scosche boomBOTTLE+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker
- Just Mobile Quattro Folio for iPhone 6s
- X-Doria Defense Lux for iPhone 6s/6
- Spigen Perfect Armor for iPhone 6s, Slim/Tough Armor for iPhone 6s Plus
- Spigen Neo Hybrid / Carbon / EX + Ultra Hybrid for iPhone 6s/6s Plus
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 12.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 8.4 + Apple Music
- CE Week 2015: IK Multimedia, Monowear’s Apple Watch bands + More
- Live From CE Week 2015: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
- Opinion: The ‘Grand Experiment’ of shifting to Google Photos
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?