It has been quite a while since we delved into the Apple Arcade, and we allowed them to build up a few new games in the App Store. One of the most recent releases is Super Leap Day, which launched on August 6 as an upgraded version of Leap Day, an older title with In-App purchases. The premise is simple; you have one button to help your little yellow, space suit guy traverse vertically by jumping, double jumping…and jumping some more.
There is a simplistic mechanic at work that is expounded upon to great lengths throughout the game. The art is vibrant and crisp and really pops on a newer iPhone. While the game is light on mechanics, it is an intentional decision by the design team, albeit one I don’t necessarily agree with. Upon loading, you are met with a tutorial level that teaches you the basics of the game (using walls to further propel you upward) and attempting to time your jumps and double jumps.
The gameplay itself is fun and has a neat concept where each day, you receive a new level to ascend, dodging enemies, spikes, traps, and a litany of other nefarious creations designed to kill you. Each day a new level is added, and it really is a stellar concept to keep players engaged. Simplicity is the main attraction here, but it almost comes off as a lazy approach to development. There are no tutorials for the menu and so many in-game concepts you have to fail at before figuring out. Thankfully there is not an energy cost associated with these failings (only because it is on the Apple Arcade), but overall, everything could have used more explaining and direction.
This leads us to my major gripe with this release, and although you can earn powerups and perks, most of the game is embedded behind the many doors you open (from the elevator room). All of this could have been streamlined and presented to players in a more discerning fashion, most of which are new and probably just downloaded this on Apple Arcade. Adding direction for players would have greatly eased players into the many caveats found in this game. As a player, you have control over the timing of your character’s jumps, which have to be precise to traverse the many levels, but apart from that, you are powerless.
With a game that demands such precision, the inability to control the movements of our characters baffles me. The character moves automatically, either left or right, and continues moving upon this path until it is interrupted and then reverses course. This lack of precision is frustrating, and I felt that if I could control my character, these levels would have been much easier, and my deaths would feel earned. You will die a lot in this game, but for an Apple Arcade title that supports controllers, you would think allowing us to move the character would be a given. I see no purpose for using a controller to tap on one button.
Titles like Cuphead are extremely difficult, but you can understand why you died when it happens. Without being able to control the second-by-second movements of your character, you are often left with watching him run side to side until the platforms line up. Even if they used the gyro controls within the phone, this would be a better experience. It is a decently entertaining game, but I found myself just spamming jump until I completed many of the challenges rather than truly giving it any thought. Some of the more challenging portions of the levels had only ONE solution, and if your character wasn’t lined up properly, you would not successfully make the jump.
I am hoping that during these daily updates, they will give us the option. Until then, I won’t be logging into Super Leap Day every day to experience the levels. I really wanted to enjoy this game, to look forward to logging in and experience the newly added levels, but I kept feeling frustrated.