May 5, 2013 1:34 PM | John Polson
Dream's Bell's 2D platformer Jack the Reaper for Windows takes its aesthetic cues from the 16-bit era and uses a Kirby-esque power-up mechanic to form a work-in-progress that I can't wait to see finished. After the moon crashes into the Earth and the souls that lived there were revived, Jack answers God's (phone) call to put the dead back to rest and restore order.
Yes, Jack the Reaper has a zany, anime-like plot. Equally zany is the gameplay, hard with enemies that often hurt even when they die. Fortunately, Jack has a dodge button that helps avoid dangers on the ground and in the air.
The heart of Jack the Reaper is how he absorbs the souls of the enemies, which replenishes health and grants new abilities such as hyper speed and a boomerang. Later in the game, players can combine abilities for more grim-reaping radness.
The first few stages are a bit short and lack appropriately themed visuals and enemies. However, the creator responded on the TIGS forum that this is already being addressed, along with some vertical platforming instances.
With so few retro platforming games in the wild attempting a 16-bit feel, I hope Jack the Reaper's demo gets the feedback it deserves to make it an awesome final product.
[controls: Z- Jump/activate some boss-gained abilities, X- Attack, C- DODGE. do not forget this key exists!, A- Eject first soul, S- Eject second soul, Q- pause]