Soosiz is the gravity-defying platformer you’ve been waiting for

Posted: October 10, 2009 in Platformer

Developers often ask me what will make their game a hit. Unlike my reviews, my response is usually brief—create an entertaining game that is heavy on personality and content, and then market it in every way possible to reach your audience. From all indications, Touch Foo is already halfway there with its new 2D platformer Soosiz. Engrossing in gameplay as it is oozing with charm, Soosiz is the epitome of how to take a not-so-original concept and infuse it with creativity and imagination.

A gravity game at heart, Soosiz is a game about personal loss, discovery and vengeance…well sort of, except in a fun way. These round creatures live peacefully in the magical world of Soosiz until one day, an evil overtakes the land sending the little guys into oblivion. As luck would have it, however, one manages to escape and begin an epic journey through 7 different and diverse worlds each with its own unique boss to rescue his people while destroying the evil.

Using your little hero, the primary objective is to reach the portal at the end of each level, but as you journey through the 65 levels, you’ll have the opportunity to rescue other little guys in your pursuit of evil. Rescuing other little guys does come with its rewards since some of them provide special powers such as faster speed and higher jumps. These little guys also serve another purpose. While you can earn gold, silver and bronze medals, you’ll need to rescue all the little guys in a level to earn a gold medal in order to unlock additional levels. In later levels, successful rescues become even more important since unlocking their special powers is necessary to completing the level.

Fair or not, people inherently judge based on what they see. The residents of Soosiz look like little Mr. Potato Heads, each with his and her own personality. The artwork in Soosiz, while presented in vibrant colors and set in unique environments, isn’t earth shattering. In fact, the 2D worlds look similar to what you’d find in other similar games such as Rolando and Gomi. But the use of alternating backgrounds and game elements are used more effectively in Soosiz. Often, rolling from the surface to go underneath a platform changes the surrounding environment, which is a nice touch. For what it is, Soosiz provides a good amount of visuals throughout the different worlds. From the enchanting world of Soosiz and the chill of Snowland to the depths of the Deep Sea and journeying Up in the Stars, each world offers a treasure trove of possibilities and elements. Combined with the lighthearted, synthesized music tracks, Soosiz is an immersive experience.

At any given time, you can stop the action and pan the screen by tapping the magnifying glass icon to see what obstacles await. In this mode, the game shows the direction of the portal as well as where little guys need rescue. Since each stage provides 3 lives to start which you’ll find aren’t enough especially in the later stages, one perk to look for is a little guy with a heart since this awards additional lives.

Enemies come in all shapes and sizes, some more intelligent than others. While the enemies don’t have specific names, generally they are round and prickly, although sea monsters and space zombies also make their presence known. Other enemies actually appear to be traitors of Soosiz carrying weapons to attack our little hero. Most of the time, the little hero and his buddies can outrun enemies. In other cases, they can be knocked off by jumping on them.

Gravity is a big focus of Soosiz, and you’ll need to cleverly leverage the laws of gravity to not complete the levels, but also unlock special levels. While dodging and knocking off enemies and doing the hero thing rescuing others, gold coins can be collected with a super power awarded for every 100 collected (think Mario Bros). One good feature is that this super power isn’t automatically activated once you collect the 100th gold coin. Instead, Soosiz gives you the option of activating it when you choose. In addition, collecting gold coins also unlocks Blue Coin challenge levels. These challenge levels consist of collecting blue coins within timed levels, with rewards of bonus points and further tests your competency as a master of gravity. If that wasn’t enough, Soosiz has its share of secrets—12 to be exact—waiting to be discovered. These aren’t obvious and like the little guys that need rescuing are usually hidden away surrounded by obstacles.

The basic controls initially don’t look like much since they consist of left and right movement buttons and a jump button. But honestly, I couldn’t imagine a more appropriate and responsive set of controls. Later on, accelerometer controls come into play when movement is limited to balancing the little hero on balls.

What will matter to most is the gameplay and Soosiz does not disappoint. The levels are well designed and well thought out to provide both variety in gameplay elements and different challenges. While many will undoubtedly compare Soosiz to Gomi, Soosiz is much more of a real-time adventure game where speed and ingenuity go hand in hand. As I mentioned, each of the worlds have unique attributes or conditions that impact your little hero. For example, the slippery surface impacts movement making it difficult to be accurate in Snowland. In Up in the Stars, the lack of gravity will affect jumps, while Deep Sea allows you to leverage the properties of water to move around. Playing this game can be disorienting since your little hero will jump from island to island and move from top to bottom and vice versa throughout. On occasion, you’ll even come across springboards of some kind that can be used to give your little hero a little oomph in his jump to reach a faraway platform.

While I could nitpick and somehow develop a list of shortcomings, I won’t do that. Frankly, Soosiz is a complete game with a great visual style, responsive controls, and dizzying gameplay. If you enjoy platformers, then Soosiz is not only worth considering, it’s a must have. And to the devs—market Soosiz as much as possible and get the word out.

Albie Meter: 5 Stars (challenging gameplay in immersive worlds; platform lovers should immediately be drawn to this; coin and medal system along with a good amount of levels ensure replayability)

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