May 23rd, 2012 | By Minh Tri Nguyen
iOS and Android gamings are not short of platformers, plenty of solid titles like League of Evil and Pix’n Love Rush have been coming up over the years alongside countless of forgettable others. Future release such as the mobile version of Super Meat Boy are promising to bring more and anticipated to raise the bar. Super Lemonade Factory comes as a brand new contender, but what does it bring to the party?
Without even playing or viewing the trailer, apparently you could tell that Super Lemonade Factory is a bloody good-looking game. Characters’ pixel sprites are gorgeously drawn and animations are smooth. The visual alone is already a beauty to look at. While the game is not fully voiced, this small amount of performance in the intro is rather impressive that really adds some flavour to the game. It’s also accompanied by chiptune soundtracks, which are not really amazing and could get rather repetitive during gameplay, but generally, they get the job done.
Needless to say, Super Lemonade Factory is a platformer. What’s really appreciable here is that the game allows you to customize your virtual buttons positions, which will definitely accommodate different tastes well. You play as two characters, Andre and Liselot, who are interchangeable on the fly with a horizontal swipe. While Andre is the stronger one and able to breakdown large crates, Liselot is agile with the double-jump ability and supports Andre by pushing small crates which serve as a step to higher locations. One unique thing about Super Lemonade Factory is the piggyback position, which allows you to control both of the characters, with Liselot on Andre’s back when the two are met.
Super Lemonade Factory has the same old joyful platforming that you expected. Jumping around and timing and avoiding spikes with a small dose of puzzle-solving are satisfying as ever, with a reasonable accuracy that of a touchscreen. One bottle cap is hidden (not that well) in each map, which serves as collectible that unlocks a challenging modified version of the standard levels. Another feature I would love to applaud is the ability to reset crates’ location by double tapping, which can remove the frustration of bad moves (the game does not have a button to pull crates) or bugs without restarting the level. The game, however, is void of any artistic element that pulls your heartstrings in other titles with similar mechanic such as One And One Story
Super Lemonade Factory takes you through 3 locations on your quest to over takes the factory: warehouse, factory and management office. Most of the game features are introduced in the first set of stages, with later ones vary in landscapes, major color tone, small details and increasingly complex and somewhat frustrating designs. The last set of stage, Winnitron, offers a time-attack-like mode, which demands you to traverse through a series of level under a ticking clock. While it’s great to have another gameplay mode, Winnitron’s design is rather frustrating and difficult that guarantees a pathetic results in the first few attempts. Achievers may make it further with persistence, but casual players would be dreadfully discouraged.
One thing that bugged me about Super Lemonade Factory is the story itself. Andre and Liselot are a newly-wed couple who inherited a factory in a post-WWII era. Andre’s father asked them to traverse through the whole factory before it is granted. Each set of stages starts out with a group 4 passionate and seemingly friendly co-workers, who subsequently presents as the “bad guy” that you must avoid. Spikes and traps would make sense, yet it still puzzles me that a bunch of employees/co-workers are considered workplace hazards, killing you instantly upon contact. And how the heck did Liselot mysteriously learned a psychic ability that resembles Jedi’s mindtrick, getting the employees to stop walking around and ramble nonsenses, just by standing in front of them and pressing one button? And why would talking to (one of) them (each stage) would be considered an achievement from the protagonists’ viewpoint? The couple themselves can also talk to each other and also result in an achievement, and while this makes more sense, it still leaves a distaste of bad design in your mouth.
There are also a couple of times that I ran into crates that can’t be pushed or hovering in the air. While these bugs don’t really break the game (partly thanks to the crate resetting feature), the game could have been more polished.
One more thing. iCADE. All in favor of physical joystick controls, raise your hand. If you’re currently raising your hand, I have some good news for you. With iCADE controls, the game flows better and more smoothly than using the virtual d-pads. The controls are crisp, sharp, and well implemented with Super Lemonade Factory. Can’t say that this isn’t a nice plus.
Super Lemonade Factory tried, and apparently, it didn’t try that hard. It sticks to an old formula of pixel art, chiptune soundtrack and platforming that is already known to work and does not offer any special extra. Keep on platforming if you want to, but hold off if you don’t need it, for Super Lemonade Factory is just another contender above slightly above the bar.