They Need To Be Fed 2
I remember the first time I took a running leap off a tiny planet in Super Mario Galaxy. I loved seeing Mario jump into space and gradually float back to the planet’s surface or veer into the orbit of another floating rock. They Need To Be Fed 2 explores a similar idea, but in the 2D realm. Players leap and run across a series of objects, using momentum and gravity to collect diamonds and eventually reach a carnivorous plant that needs to feed (on you). The premise doesn’t evolve much past the introductory levels, but the gameplay is engaging enough to keep players tuned in.
Platforming on touchscreens can be a spotty affair. Thankfully, this sequel nails it. Unlike the original game (which requires players to thumb two distinct touch buttons for movement), you can simply slide left and right to run accordingly. The only other touch control in the game is for jumping, which is just as reliable. Navigating the topsy-turvy environments feels good despite the inherent floatiness of gravity-based platforming.
I enjoyed the variety of obstacles and platforms in They Need To Be Fed 2, but they tend to feel disconnected. Rotating objects spin when you land on or jump from them, spiked platforms require precise timing, and shielded planets provide respite from enemy lasers. The variety creates and enjoyable unpredictability, but the game feels like a series of simple, isolated tasks rather than a thoughtfully designed whole. The liberal checkpoints and quick respawns following death mitigate frustration, but the game lacks true challenge. After collecting all the diamonds in the initial 56 levels you unlock slightly more difficult levels, but they're nothing to write home about.
Similar to the level structure, the presentation is initially endearing but falls flat after a while. The pleasant silhouetted graphics effectively convey the on-screen action, but the only real environmental design variety comes from color swaps in the backgrounds.
They Need To Be Fed 2 controls well and I enjoy its gravitational gameplay, but the uninspired level design and neutered challenge hold the overall experience back. The short, easy levels are perfect for that brief moment in line at the store, but the simple-yet-fun premise doesn’t evolve much beyond the first few introductory levels.