Goin Up is a free, fun little arcade style 2D platformer starring a demon named Mr. Rufis. The objective is simple, see how high you can get in a seemingly endless pit while collecting skulls and dodging enemies. It sounds easy and it is easy, but its simple gameplay, the goofy art style and the generated levels that make it fun and engaging. Its never the same game twice.
The game controls well with arrow keys and the space bar, but you can also use a mouse to move and click to jump. Your jump is high and precision is a must when you’re landing on narrow platforms or enemies. Your player moves quick by default, so precision can be a challenge. The down arrow lets you drop through a playtform. The up arrow will also let you jump, which can be problematic. If only you could disable it somehow.
The platforms can tilt from your character’s weight and its a nice touch to what could have been a run of the mill arcade platformer. From the start you can jump and cling to walls before you start to slide down. The wall cling takes some time to get used to. You only need to be next to a wall for your character to cling to it against your will. If you push off without jumping, gravity will take hold and drop you like a stone. You can only cling to so many walls before you need to touch a platform, otherwise you’d be able to climb to the top of the endless pit without needing to jump
Falling below the screen will end your single life, but to keep you going there is a store. In the store you can purchase new tricks and tactics such as a double jump using the game’s skull currency that you collect in game. The double jump is shallow compared to your first jump. These tricks are yours to keep once you’ve bought them. You can even get enough skulls to unlock new characters. Its a nice effort to keep you playing.
The unlockable characters are all from different video games. There’s a ghoulish version of Mario, a hideous scout from Team Fortress 2 and several others to chose from. They each play different and that’s a good way to keep you interested. Mario can super double jump and the Scout is fast. Your main character Mr. Rufis can evolve over time to jump higher in a single bound.
The higher you go, the more challenging it gets. The walls that let you cling to them disappear after a while as the game opens up. That’s why you’re required to visit the store to get abilities that compensate for how the game changes.
There are a variety of enemies, most of which can be taken out with a simple stomp. Certain platforms are too high to reach, so you’ll have to bop an enemy on the head to make it higher. One miss after tromping an enemy to death means the high ledges are impossible to reach.
You’ll find bombs that when you touch them, they blast you high into the sky, expediting your treacherous journey. The blasts make you invulnerable, so you can just plow through enemies and get a combo going. Wizards will air push you up higher. There are also spike enemies that should be avoided at all cost. There are larger enemies that when you hop on them, you stay on them and you’ll need to pound them to death. It all makes for an interesting platformer in such a small game.
At first, if you hit an enemy, you’ll die, but you can purchase health upgrades from the store. With each one of your own deaths, the game tells you your distance climbed and how many skulls you’ve earned from slain enemies and collected. The game auto saves, so you can come back at a later time.
The game has a great aesthetic, its an evil looking, yet silly happy demon world full of skeletons, gruesome mushrooms and demons. Goin Up also has a lot of homages to other video games and includes Firebrand from Gargoyle’s Quest and a koopa troopa here or there. Dragon Quest slimes and even Starscream or Voltron make a cameo.
The music fits a fast paced boss fight and that’s all you have to listen to on your ascent. The frantic pace leads you to have more stress than you should. Certain sounds are taken straight from Super Mario Bros.
In terms of the negatives, having to use my mouse between deaths should be avoided when I’m using a keyboard. Well to get more specific, I am using a controller, bound to my keyboard to make the game more enjoyable to me. Several games in general force you to use a mouse menu when I have a keyboard or controller they let me use to play the game itself. Another downside is there is no full screen.
Goin Up is a well thought out free-to-play game and a nice little time filler in general. With so many other games out there, its tough to stick with this arcade game, but it shows me the potential this developer has to make longer games.