I’m often guilty of looking at a video game’s screenshots and making assumptions as to how exactly it will play. It’s something I did with Whipseey and the Lost Atlas; a game that looks just like a Kirby clone. I mean, between the pink bubble-like protagonist, the colourful levels, and the platforming gameplay, it’d be easy for ANYONE to come to that assumption.
In many ways it is an accurate assumption too, with the platforming adventure offering an experience that’s similar to that of Nintendo’s pink little hero. However, whilst Kirby’s adventures have been fleshed out affairs that are full to the brim with different gameplay features, Whipseey and the Lost Atlas falls short with its short-lived adventure feeling very limited in scope.
Whipseey and the Lost Atlas sees you take on the role of a young boy who, after reading a strange book, gets teleported into a colourful world and presented with a whip by a fairy. It’s up to him to battle his way through five stages in order to turn back into a human and go home. It’s a simple narrative and one that’s not really expanded on further than that, bar an ending cutscene that wraps things up in a predictable manner.
The gameplay itself is fairly simple, with Whipseey and the Lost Atlas adopting traditional old-school platforming mechanics. You’re able to run, jump, and use your whip to hit out at enemies to defeat them or swing between grappling points to get around. You’re also able to spin your whip above you as a means to glide, which is handy when trying to get to those hard to reach areas. That’s it, though; there aren’t any new skills to unlock as you progress through the game, with your move set remaining the same throughout the entirety of the experience.
Fortunately, some solid level design ensures that you’ll have fun using your limited abilities, with each stage of the game broken down into a selection of levels that challenge you with plenty of platforms to jump between, enemies to vanquish, and hazards to avoid. There are some neat bosses to battle at the end of each stage too, with each requiring you to figure out their attack patterns and identify their moments of weakness in order to vanquish them. Admittedly, there can be a big disparity between the difficulty of these levels, with some ridiculously easy to get through and others providing a sterner test – nothing in Whipseey and the Lost Atlas is too difficult though, so you shouldn’t expect too much of a challenge.
Well, except for when you come across the underwater spikes. Early on in the game, you have to traverse a level that’s full of spikes that kill you in one hit. In fairness, the controls of Whipseey and the Lost Atlas are fairly tight, but during this particular section I found myself incredibly frustrated as I struggled to swim past enemies without touching the spikes surrounding me and having to start the area over. It’d be something if there was a bit of wiggle-room when making contact with them, but the slightest colliding of pixels sees you die and having to start the area over (or the whole stage if you run out of lives). I’ll admit that not everyone might have the same frustrations getting through this section as I did, but it annoyed me enough at the time that I had to bring it up here.
For the most part though, Whipseey and the Lost Atlas offers a decent old-school platforming experience. Unfortunately, it’s VERY short, with the game easily beaten in less than an hour (and that’s even including the time I spent frustrated at those spikes). Platforming fans will have fun playing through the forty-minutes or so of gameplay that it offers, but with little in the way of variety and no extras or secrets to uncover, Whipseey and the Lost Atlas can be a bit hard to recommend. It is worth noting that it’s a pretty cheap game to purchase though (it’s £4.99 on the UK eShop), so at least it won’t hurt your wallet too much if you do decide to give it a try.
I’d be remiss not to mention Whipseey and the Lost Atlas’ presentation, which is absolutely charming throughout. The world is vibrant and imaginative, whilst the soundtrack from Benji Inniger is brilliant and manages to capture the vibe of the experience perfectly. It’s good stuff.
Whipseey and the Lost Atlas is a decent platformer that has some genuinely fun moments, but the lack of variety in its gameplay mechanics and a quick runtime see it fall short when compared to similar titles in the genre. It’s not that anything it does is ever bad per se, but rather that it doesn’t do enough to really capture the imagination.
With its low price-point it might be worth checking out if you’re a platforming fan, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting more from this pink hero’s little adventure.
Developer: Daniel A. Ramirez
Publisher: Blowfish Studios
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC