Review Apple Jack

Sometimes you find yourself hankering for a good old fashioned platformer, something to give you a bit of a challenge and tax the old brain cells. Apple Jack from My Owl Software (or to be more precise, the work of one man, Tim Sycamore) most certainly falls into that category, but what sets it apart from the million other `me-too!` clones is a wonderfully esoteric take on the genre.

You play as Jack, a fellow with an Apple for a head, who has discovered that his pet dog has been kidnapped and is being held on Mount Snowdon in the Welsh mountains. While not many will be instantly familiar with the journey from East Anglia to North Wales, an almost travelogue theme is provided with each level being named after a small town or village along the route.

While some people might be screaming `parochial` right about now, Apple Jack`s surrealist bent is gentle and inviting. The humour is subtle, infused with an easy charm which fits the game perfectly without alienating any potential players.

Taking its cues from a distinctly old school stance Apple Jack manages to bring back fond memories of classic platformers by utilising all the facets which those titles were renowned for; excellent controls married to a wonderful, slightly off-beat world. In Apple Jacks case his world is populated with everything from Pandas to Washing Machines to hopping Astronauts which he jumps on to stun them, then grab and throw at similar enemies. This releases coins and chaining hits on enemies ups your multiplier, dropping even more coins to collect. Clear the level (of which there are 100 yes, one hundred) of all enemies and off you go to the next one.

But dont let Apple Jack`s bright and breezy look lull you into a false sense of security as it soon become tricky and youll kick yourself when you see the solution after spending what feels like forever on a particularly tricky puzzle. And while it might seem too difficult for some to finish every level, thats fine because Apple Jack is one of those titles that should be played regardless of skill or perceived interest, because its FUN. Yes, just plain, honest to goodness fun. The price of admission is so slight for the quality thats on offer that Apple Jack just has to be bought and played.

Click here to download Apple Jack from the Xbox Marketplace.