Platform games have had a long evolution. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews they reigned supreme throughout the 80s and into the early 90s. In the recent years platform games have been used by indie developers with various gameplay gimmicks. None of these platform revival games is more popular than Meatboy. Cheeseman developed by Alphanoize is a mobile homage to Meatboy that contains the same charm and humor as the original creation.
In Cheeseman you play as one of two chuncks of cheese (Cheeseman or Cheesewoman) that is attempting to defeat an evil rat that.... well the story isn’t so clear, but you’re a piece of cheese, does the story really need to make sense? The goal of the game is to complete each level as quickly as possible without dying, and you are going to die. Part of the allure of these neo platform games is their difficulty. Cheeseman moves fast, so fast in fact it puts Mario to shame. Sure Sonic might be a little faster, but Cheeseman could beat Sonic in dexterity with his limburger tied behind his back. With all this movement however, it becomes increasingly difficult to maneuver around the spikes, lasers, and fireballs that want nothing else but to turn you into fondu.
The graphics of Cheeseman are crisp for a two dimensional platform game. The big cheese himself resembles a stinky Spongebob. The background is rendered with parallax scrolling reminiscent of Super Mario World on the SNES and giving a somewhat three dimensional feeling despite its completely two dimensional world. Some of the sprites are a bit crude, which I think is part of the direction Alphanoize was attempting.
The sound effects and music are fitting of the frantic pace of the cheese. The opening theme, though a short looped track, hits the metaphorical nail on the head and is in itself descriptive of the experience you are in for. The various beep buzz and death explosion soundeffects are hilarious, keeping the game lighthearted and the frustration levels at bay through countless deaths over the course of Cheeseman’s 3 existing worlds (with the promise of more to come).
The most controversial of elements within Cheeseman is the difficulty. Like Super MeatBoy, Cheeseman was meant to be difficult, very difficult. I’ve played some of the levels in excess of 25 times before completing them. The interesting part about this is that the levels are all relatively short and the reload times are fairly quick which keeps the player coming back for more abuse over and over. What makes the difficulty a little less palatable are the touch controls. Though the touch controls in Cheeseman are implemented well enough, a game that requires this level of precision screams for controller support. Unfortunately there is none despite Android’s relatively robust support for controllers (particular the Xperia Play). Alphanoize has a great opportunity to really benefit their game with controller support in the future.
Though Cheeseman does have a few issues, the frantic gameplay is both challenging and seductive, for the amazing price of free (with ads) Cheeseman is a deal that nobody familiar with video games should miss out on. You may find yourself banging your head against a wall at some point, but once you accomplish that ever so difficult task the rewarding feeling of success makes it more than worth it.