If you have played and enjoyed games such as Super Meat Boy and N+, then there is every chance you will really love Pinkman+. Developed by Green Dinosaur Games and published by Ratalaika Games, Pinkman+ presents itself as a fast-paced platformer which will rewind the veterans of the gaming world right back to the Atari and Amiga days. It has a warming retro vibe with a huge helping of vibrant colour, and simple yet frustratingly addictive gameplay boasting 100 levels of platforming pleasure.
Pinkman+ is extremely casual and no tutorial is required here since the basic function focuses on just movement and jumping abilities. The premise is very simple and that is to make it from start to finish and tick off the levels. You’ll need patience and precision to master some of the later stages, and be prepared for several failed attempts before you master negotiating some of the more difficult areas. As with many games of this nature it will ease you in with some easy runs and then evolve into more dangerously fiendish levels.
Considering this title is old-school the movement feels very fluid and flexible; simply tapping the A button will allow you to jump. You’ll have the ability to wall jump by releasing your button press when against the wall and pushing into another direction, or cascade upwards towards higher platforms. The real work is when the levels become more challenging and obstructions and traps are in place. The key to working through to the final door of the level is avoiding these hazards as they will guarantee instant death. Lives are unlimited, however a death could force you right back to the start of the level or checkpoint to make another attempt. Thankfully checkpoints feature on some of the tougher levels of the game allowing you to resume from there rather than going all the way back to the very start if you lose your life.
Missiles, lasers, spikes, saws, moving platforms and more will be rife throughout a lot of Pinkman+. After a few successful levels you also gain access to a jetpack ability with limited fuel which will grant a temporary boost allowing you to reach higher ground or fly across a lengthy gap. The amount of fuel you have is displayed by a small gauge and this refills once you are back on the ground. You’ll quickly learn to adapt that if you don’t time your flying correctly then it could result in you dropping to the floor like a lead balloon.
What I especially adored though is that the colour scheme of Pinkman+ changes every time you succumb to your death. This is a welcome addition as I could imagine a game of this nature becoming extremely stale with the same basic colours. I played this in the dark and it coated my living room with its vivid neon colour scheme. The soundtrack does add to the adrenaline with some high-tempo 80’s-style music in a synthwave tune.
Even inexperienced gamers could pick up and play Pinkman+ as it is super simple to control. I introduced my partner to the game and let her try a few of the levels, observing her getting sucked in. And in that moment I felt like a child again who was sharing the experience, sitting around the computer waiting for your turn; it really reminded me of being five years old and being wowed by my first Atari system. I’m often guilty of writing games like this off immediately as when you look at screenshots and see how retro the game is, it can be difficult to tear yourself from a triple-A experience. But there is some really enjoyable gameplay here and there are some extremely difficult levels that are frustrating yet incredibly addictive.
It took me approximately 3 to 4 hours to work through all 100 levels found in Pinkman+ on Xbox, however if you’re an avid achievement hunter you could easily max out a thousand Gamerscore in an hour or so. For such a small price point it is more than worth the investment. Sadly after the 100 levels are complete there is little desire to run through them again and I was genuinely gutted it was finished. In fact, if the developer decided to release more levels it would be a title I would go back for more from. Pinkman+ is very short but hits that sweet nostalgic spot and sucks you in with its addictive nature. The question is, can you guide Pinkman to the door of all 100 levels?