Let’s cut to the chase – Kid Tripp is frustrating, unforgiving, and will probably have you shouting at your screen. It’s also a game I couldn’t put down, and one I thoroughly recommend buying.
At first glance, it’s perhaps hard to see why. Kid Tripp is an entirely stripped-back experience: there are just two controls – jump and throw – and you’ll be doing the same thing from level 1-1 all the way up to level 4-5, which is jumping over obstacles and throwing rocks at enemies. There is no story, no boss-fight, and no upgrades. In fact, the only changes are entirely superficial ones. The different background environments and enemies are certainly designed well, but they don’t add anything of any significance to the overall gameplay.
You could criticise Kid Tripp for lacking any real variety. But that absolutely shouldn’t put you off buying this game. Because Kid Tripp accomplishes exactly what it set out to do – to provide players with a damned hard auto-scroller. The gameplay is smooth and flows well, and the controls are responsive to match.
Each level is clever in its design insofar that enemies and obstacles are placed in such a way to aid the fast-paced nature of the gameplay. The game also excels at encouraging effort and perseverance on the part of the player by offering up sections that look impossible on a first attempt, and asking the player to find the right strategy and timing to pass them.
Despite the difficulty, Kid Tripp isn’t overly punishing. It’s a good job, because you’ll die. A lot. The game gives you ten lives, but unlimited continues at the expense of taking away all your coins. Levels are only around twenty seconds long too, so a death won’t really set you back.
In fact, I found it did the opposite. I found dying to be an incredibly useful tool in finding out what works on a specific section and what doesn’t. And thanks to the short level lengths, I could get right back to where I was and try something else. I never felt the game to be unfair, and every death, though frustrating, was ultimately my fault.
I found the whole thing to be reminiscent of a game from the early ’90s. The game’s art style only heightened that feeling. It heaps on the nostalgia, by giving us 8-bit environments, a chiptune soundtrack, and a main character who looks suspiciously like an Italian plumber. It’s become a safe option for indie titles to go with pixel graphics but I found it works well here, given the nature of the game.
The only criticisms I have of Kid Tripp are minor ones. Firstly, I found the game to be too short. I must have died at least two hundred times, and I still managed to finish it in under an hour. An extra world or two certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss, although given the fact it costs less than a fiver I can’t complain too much. There isn’t much in the way of replayability either: each level does have a medal you can earn by collecting all the coins, but does that encourage you to play the game again after you’ve finished? Not really.
So, how best is it to describe Kid Tripp on Xbox? Short, but sweet. It might only be an hour long, but it’s entirely worth it. The gameplay and level design are both stellar, and the game is challenging without being unfair or overly-punishing. For less than a fiver, what more could you want?