The 2D platformer has been a video game staple for decades, and remains popular to this very day. In fact it's been experiencing something of a renaissance lately, as mobile gaming boils the premise down to its most addictive, fast-paced essence for quickfire play sessions. Kid Tripp was one such hit that originally released on iOS platforms, and we quite enjoyed the 3DS port earlier this year. Next up on his world tour, the Kid has set his sights on the Switch, hoping that the third time around is a real charm.
Right off the bat, Four Horses has done a great job in porting the game over, as it still looks and runs great with crisp pixel art visuals and smooth performance. On both the big screen and in handheld mode there's a nice vibrancy to the colour, which makes a tangible difference from the 3DS version. Content-wise there isn't anything new added on to this release, which is definitely a shame, but as a budget title the price is still just about right for what's on offer here.
You play as the eponymous Kid Tripp himself in an endless-runner style adventure that takes place across 20 different levels and four worlds. In your journey to the mysterious right side of the screen, you'll be bounding across obstacles, pitfalls and enemies to reach the goal. There aren't any checkpoints or breaks along the way, as each level can technically be completed in less than a minute, but the challenging difficulty will make sure it takes you more than a few attempts to nail a perfect run and survive.
As you're constantly moving forward, your input is mostly reserved to timing your jumps correctly, but there's also the ability to speed up your Kid by holding forward on the D-Pad or control stick accordingly. This gives you a minor but noticeable speed boost, which is extremely useful in nailing some tricky sections later on. We found ourselves rocking the D-Pad back and forth in order to adapt our speed to fit certain situations, but there are actually a few different setups you can choose between for this feature.There's the default option which we just explained, but you can actually reverse this so your standard speed is a run instead, which you manually adjust to a walk when necessary. There's also a 'hardcore' option which removes running entirely, leaving you plodding along at a slow pace and forcing you to time your jumps with precision.
On top of this, you have the ability to throw stones, which is handy for clearing out enemies but becomes less useful as you progress, and those same enemies become crucial platforms. One of the limitations of the runner genre is that the levels are so short and tightly-designed that you really only have one or two different paths to choose from when it comes to reaching the end. Victory comes down to memorisation just as much as your reflexes, so you'll need to learn from your mistakes and follow the right steps. There's room for some improvisation, but if you don't keep the right enemies alive then expect your tripp to be cut short.
The game will start you off with ten lives, but for the casual player there really isn't any punishment to dying at all. Running out will result in a game over, but even if this happens you just start right back at the beginning of the level you were on and try again. For high-score chasers this is more of a big deal, as you'll lose all of the coins you've collected up to that point. These act as a kind of running point total, and managing to grab all of them in a level will earn you a gold medal as well. It's a thoughtful system, allowing casual players to practice levels at their own pace without punishment, while encouraging veterans to complete a run while dying as little as possible.
Between worlds there's zero fanfare and not a boss fight to be seen, so the meat of the game comes from the 20 levels in total. It really isn't a whole lot, but it also means that it's a fun little experience that doesn't outstay its welcome. We completed the entire game in under an hour, but still went back to improve on older levels and try to grab some extra achievements, like successfully making it back out of the water after falling in. There's a fair challenge throughout, never feeling too frustrating, but there isn't too much imagination in any of the world designs or enemy types either. Bats, snakes, ice world, fire world - it's all pretty standard.
For the price, it's hard to argue too much with this as a fun, budget title. It's fast, satisfying, and what it lacks in creativity it mostly makes up for in a fair challenge without any of the fuss. There isn't really even a story, other than the fact that Kid Tripp seems to have crashed his plane and annoyed some animals. With the port now making the jump to a home console - albeit a portable one - some of its limitations just become that little bit more apparent, and we were hoping for extra content like new worlds or game modes to help lure us back in. If you missed out on 3DS then this is fine, but it felt slightly incomplete even then, and that feeling is further amplified now on the big screen.
Kid Tripp is a polished, simple little platformer that will put your skills to the test from the very beginning. It's a no-frills experience that's light on ceremony, giving you 20 levels of rapid gameplay that's perfect for short sessions and high-score chasing, but falls a little flat in terms of creativity and content. While it's undoubtedly a fun ride while it lasts, the whole game can be beaten in under an hour, so don't expect much in the way of post-game content or extreme replayability, unless you really want to dig into the nitty gritty of mastering each level. That being said, it's a solid budget title and one well worth looking into if you want a delightfully punishing dose of retro gameplay. It's a Tripp worth taking.