Hardcore platformers that require precision are great gaming challenges. They often have a steep learning curve or a hard wall that makes them difficult to get into by default though. This is where Pinkman+ shines. As a budget title, it offers a cheap but well put together game that lets you taste the genre without losing your mind to it first.
Whilst the game looks extremely basic and rips off N++ in its style, what matters here are the physics and level design. Both of these are on point. Pinkman+ handles predictably and without major drama. Your character can run, jump, wall jump, wall slide and also use their jetpack. The jetpack has limited fuel which replenishes after a few seconds and this is crux to much of the second half of the game. Often you’ll need to jump, boost with the jetpack and then wall jump or slide carefully until the jetpack is ready to go again. This makes precision crucial and that’s why having predictable controls is vital. It makes or breaks these types of games and thankfully it is what makes Pinkman+ good. Whilst there isn’t absolute precision to the exact pixel here, each tap on the stick or d-pad always moves Pinkman the same amount and that is all we need to go on.
The 100 levels are ripe for speedrunners. You can turn on a clock to enjoy this feature but I’m terrible at speedrunning so focused on survival. Pinkman+ utilises a checkpoint system so deaths aren’t heavily penalised. This also makes the game a great introduction to hardcore platforming as the penalty is small. Usually you only have a few jumps or a missile to avoid and you are back to where you were before. With the stakes low, you can learn and improve quickly.
The 100 levels will take anywhere upwards of perhaps 75-90 minutes to complete. Speed runners will get more from it and if you do, the synthwave soundtrack and random colour palettes help break up replaying the game for fun.
All things considered, I was pleasantly surprised with how good Pinkman+ is. Well put together with levels that introduce new things throughout without being too stupidly hard. This keeps the difficulty curve in check too. There are occasions, most notably when dealing with homing missiles and guns, where things can feel a little stressful but you can use the level design to ensure they hit the wall and not you. There are times when those missiles will chase you around the level though and its probably only then when the real hardcore platform grinders will feel their skills tested.
This is a great example of what a narrow development focus on a budget can bring to a game. Well done to all involved.
PS4 review copy provided by publisher.
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