“Allen, oh Allen. You cute little nightmare, but you aren’t scary at all!” In Terra Noctis, you will take on the role of Allen in this new and exciting platformer. This game closely resembles Yoshi’s Island (and other platformer classics). This game certainly doesn’t disappoint, unlike some other platformers. Many platformers available in the iOS market usually feel watered-down or have difficult controls; however, Terra Noctis succeeds where other platforming predecessors failed, which I’ll explain more into the review.
The story and plot of the game is simple, yet you must go through a complicated journey to finish it’s epic quest. In this story, no nightmares are natural in the Dreamverse, and it’s your job to be the nightmare. Allen tried and tried, but couldn’t be scary or even be a creep. He decides to go to the forbidden library in hope to find a book to help him become a better nightmare. The book leads you to go on a journey find the Betentacled Blob of Darkness – the scariest nightmare in the Dreamverse – you and if defeat it, and eat its heart, you gain demonic powers.
The gameplay was a decent length. There are four worlds, although the theme stayed relatively the same. This led to a semi-repetitive gameplay, which threatened to get boring at any moment. However, I was still hooked onto the game, but after playing through the worlds, it felt a little tiring. The game was based on the idea to explore through the whole level and find all the coins/red fairies/bonus level coins. It made each level feel a bit longer than it actually was. For me, each level took around five to ten minutes to beat. There is a shop to buy and equip power-ups like extra jump height or faster speed.
The graphics were significantly better on the iPod Touch/iPhone’s screen than on the iPad, implying that they didn’t optimize the graphics for the iPad’s larger screen. It seemed as if they enlarged all the sprites and the backgrounds to fit the screen, then called the game universal. While the graphics on the iPad weren’t prefect in comparison, it wasn’t a major problem. The detail was amazing, while still maintaining a retro feel. If you had to make a definition for the style of the graphics, the most fitting description would probably be pixel art. The animations and rendering were quick and smooth.
The controls are probably the highlights of the game, because they’re almost perfect. The arrow keys are fast and responsive, and the jump and duck button are easy to press as well. While the controls are not 100% perfect, everyone must know that there are no physical buttons or keys on your iDevice. The only problem I had with the controls was the aiming, which always aimed to the left, no matter where you start to fire. On a the same note, the iCade controls were also precise and accurate as well.
The only problems I found were incorrect translations in dialog, and the aiming was a bit awkward to learn. In the introduction cutscene, some of the text was cut off when I was testing the game on my iPod Touch. During the game, when I died, I lost power ups that weren’t even equipped. The app has a few small bugs, but if you put them aside, this is one awesome game. The music was fun, lighthearted and enjoyable. All in all, this is a wonderful platforming game that both looks and feels great and despite its flaws. It’ one of my favorite platformers, and I would recommend it to any fans of the genre.