Miles & Kilo
Developer: Four Horses
Publisher: Four Horses
Release Date: 5 July 2018
Price: $7.99 / £7.19
Reviewed by Josh Brant
Miles & Kilo is a successor to Kid Tripp, which in its own right was a great little retro-inspired, 2D platformer. It was so great in fact, that it drew comparisons to classics such as Wonder Boy and Adventure Island. In a lot of ways, it was a modern version of an NES title with almost pitch-perfect, auto-running gameplay.
In it's follow-up effort, developer Four Horses, have gone all out to craft an amazing platforming adventure that any Nintendo Switch owner should immediately pick up.
It Takes Two
Miles & Kilo is supposed to be an endless runner, with the levels designed to be played in exactly that way. There’s even an option to turn auto-running on in the options menu. However, it's disabled as default, and the fact it's an equally fun experience in either playstyle is a testament to how well the game is put together.
What Miles & Kilo accomplishes over and above that of Kid Tripp is the personality and charm that saturates the world and story. After crashing on a spooky island inhabited by cranky ghosts, the duo is forced to search for the pieces of their plane in the hopes of escaping. Miles is the boy you play as and he can wall jump, throw fruit, and even has a Mega Man-like slide. He can also swing on vines and these little additions to the platforming change the gameplay up quite a bit from its predecessor.
Man’s Best Friend
Though this would have been enough to make a complete game, Four Horses went even further to give Miles the perfect companion: Kilo the dog. Kilo, when you break him down, is basically just like Sonic with his beaming dash able to immediately attack enemies in quick succession when pushing the action button after jumping.
His controls work exceptionally well and combined with the exceptional level design, makes for very satisfying and engaging gameplay, especially when used to boost momentum at the right time.
The controls in general, especially jumping, feel very responsive, with each failure your own doing. You have full control over how high you can jump and there’s a slight float at the end if you keep the button pressed. The required timings of each action lay a great foundation for you to show off your platforming skills.
Level design is well varied across the five different worlds, with 36 stages in total. There are notable inspirations from Super Mario Bros. and other platformers of the era. Levels are challenging and test your skills at a reasonable pace, enticing any platforming enthusiast to try and craft a perfect run throughout each one. Oftentimes, continuously running forward is the best bet against some of the tougher areas, and trying to achieve a high score requires incredible precision.
The music is ridiculously catchy and full of chip-tune charm, helping you stomach the many failures you'll inevitably experience.
Gotta Collect Them All
Clearing the stages is not the only goal though. Collectibles are strewn throughout each level, and a timer keeps track of how long it takes for you to get to the end. Another helpful counter keeps track of how many deaths you suffer, and all of these stats are taken into account to determine your grade on each stage. Naturally, you’ll want to get an S rank on each one, and doing so will help you acheive an even higher overall score.
There are no lives to worry about, with the coins you pick up contributing to your score and rank. They function mainly as a collectible, adding incentive to play stages over again in order to collect them all. Miles can also carry up to five pieces of fruit at a time to hurl at enemies, but if you run out you’ll have to collect more. The fruit stocks in most levels are fairly generous, but it’s something you'll want to keep track of as finishing a stage with all five fruits increases your points tally.
Overall, Miles & Kilo is almost the perfect type of retro-platformer to play as it’s immediately engaging, features well-executed gameplay, and dons a charming 8-bit aesthetic that will keep you smiling even when you perish. A lot of love has clearly gone into the development, with the game brilliantly combining new and exciting innovations with retro sensibilities.
Pros & Cons
+ Perfect platforming with exceptional level design
+ Charming 8-bit graphics
+ Leaderboards and plenty of post-ending content
- Frustrating in places
- A few more levels wouldn't have gone amiss