There have been many attempts at creating platformers that look like they’re from a bygone era. Miles & Kilo, the newest game from Four Horses, is the latest attempt at creating a retro-styled, ultra-tough platformer. There are a number of improvements from Kid Tripp, the studio’s first game, but there are also some frustrating gameplay elements. Despite that, however, I remained constantly engaged and kept feeling compelled to keep pushing forward.
Miles and Kilo stars the titular duo as they are flying their plane over some less than ideal weather. Crashing into an island, they find their plane has been ransacked by some nefarious…people (that term is used lightly). It’s now up to the two of you to traverse the island, rebuild your plane, and get the heck out of there. The story is not at the forefront here, although there are text-based cut-scenes dispensed throughout.
The bulk of the levels in Miles and Kilo are split up between those where you control Miles, and others where Kilo takes charge. The Miles levels play out more like a traditional platformer. There’s running, jumping, and getting rid of enemies in your way. Miles also has the ability to throw fruit at enemies and you can replenish your supply by collecting them throughout the episode.
The main difference in these levels is the fact that you can control Miles’ movements. This differentiates it from Four Horses’ previous game, Kid Tripp, which was an autorunner. The Miles levels can actually be played as an autorunner. There is an autorun feature, but the game can simply be played without stopping. The Kilo levels are a straight-up autorunner, and the boss levels that end each world have autorunning elements to them.
Miles and Kilo controls very well, and the physics were nice and tight. As a fan of traditional platformers, I preferred the levels where you play as Miles, sans autorun. I appreciated the ability to plan my movements and actions. Miles and Kilo originally released on mobile devices, and the autorun levels are where this is readily apparent. However, the autorun levels are where I found the most frustration.
You will die a lot in Miles & Kilo, but the problem is that a lot of the deaths feel cheap. Unlike other platformers where you can chalk up death to a mistake you make, I encountered several instances where I found a death rather head-scratching. Many deaths occur when I jumped to another platform and simply slipped off once I landed. I regularly found myself frustrated working my way through the island.
The final levels were the boss levels that capped off each world. These levels have automatic running, but also involve you using the boss’ attacks against them. The boss levels were actually my favorite part of Miles & Kilo. Even when I died, I was able to learn from the game, and death actually gave me a reason to keep going.
Miles and Kilo is short. There are 36 levels, and each level takes less than a minute to complete. The entire game can be completed in a few hours, taking into account deaths. However, each level does assign you a grade at the end. This grade depends on how long you take to finish a level, and how much fruit you finish the level with, and so on. Grades have no impact on progression, but it does give Miles and Kilo a replayability factor.
Speedrunners will find a lot to love in Miles and Kilo. Since the levels are short, there’s an incentive to return and trying to perfect it. I suspect they’ll also prefer to autorun throughout each level, as well.
Miles and Kilo is bright and vibrant, looking directly ripped from the ’80s. Unfortunately, being stuck on an island means there’s not much variety in the level designs. There’s a sameness that follows throughout the game, and that sometimes makes it hard to stay engaged for longer play sessions. The chiptune soundtrack fits along perfectly with the overall aesthetic of MIles and Kilo, though there are only a few different tracks.
Miles and Kilo is charming and offers something for players looking for a challenge. However, it’s not a game I foresee having the legs that other super-challenging platformers like Super Meat Boy and Celeste contain. This is due to the short length, and overall lack of replayability, except for those who are super-dedicated to speedrunning. And unlike the other two games mentioned, death sometimes feels cheap.
On the other hand, Miles and Kilo is available for cheap, and for Switch owners looking for a nice 2D platformer to play, it’s definitely not a bad option. Don’t go in expecting the next Mario game, however. But the ability to play Miles and Kilo on the go also gives it an edge. For those looking for a quick and challenging game, you could do a lot worse than Miles and Kilo.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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