iOS Game Review – Mr. Karoshi (Jesse Venbrux)
February 9, 2011
Karoshi, erm, Mr. Karoshi returns in this fun, addicting platform puzzler for the iOS. Its creator, Jesse Venbrux, is not new to developing for this platform. He recently released They Need to Be Fed a few months ago through YYG.
Before I even purchased the game, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it as much seeing as how Mr. Karoshi marks the sixth game in the series. I’ve enjoyed all previous titles, but imagined that Jesse would be running low on ideas. I was wrong. Sure the game uses older gimmicks or similar level design, but I was more than happy to see effort was put into this game. Don’t get me wrong, Jesse has put a great amount of dedication in his games, but now that his Game Maker days seem to be over, I wasn’t expecting something up to par.
Something notable but not necessarily gameplay-changing is the fact the game takes place in an outside enviornment. A needed change, no; nice, yes. On top of that, Mr. Karoshi comes with a story. As vague and simplistic as it is, it’s a nice to learn a little about the suicidal character we’ve been playing as since early 2008.
Yes. This game is hard. However, it is fun; a great combination. I found myself stuck on several levels for far too long. I wasn’t frustrated, though; just a little anxious. This problem occured mainly from the fact that you do not need to kill all the characters in a level (yes, much like Karoshi Factory), but use them to effect Mr. Karoshi’s emotions. I found this to be an interesting concept, but sometimes hair-pullingly difficult.
Meet our three main characters: Mr. Karoshi, Mrs. Karoshi and the Boss. Mr. Karoshi is overworked by his Boss. When his boss is killed, the poor man becomes happy. When he is happy, not only are we presented with a lovely pink background, but the ability to jump higher. When our blue-suited protaginast comes in contact with the Boss, however, gravity effects him more. When Mrs. Karoshi dies, Mr. Karoshi becomes sad; affected the same way he would when he touches the money-hungry man. When Mr. Karoshi touches the lady, though, he becomes happy. Spikes are replaced by flowers when our buddy is happy. Sure, all of this may not sound too difficult to work with, but believe me, you’ll have trouble.
I’d compare Mr. Karoshi with the first game in the series because, unlike the second, it doesn’t require too much “outrageous” thinking. Everything’s straightforward; which isn’t a bad thing. However, this game comes with coins (20 in total). If you collect 10, a Wario Ware-like minigame becomes unlocked. It’s a nice addition which adds some replay value. I’m not sure what happens when you collect all 20 coins besides from an achievement unlocking. The coins are pretty easy to collect, but adds an extra challenge if you’re a perfectionist.
Speaking of the achievements, there weren’t a lot compared to previous YYG titles; only nine. This was dissapointing as Jesse could have thought of both interesting and decent ideas. The “1,000 deaths” award was just too much for me. Though, if you do want it, I recommend unlocking Karoshiware. A fair amount of deaths can come from each play.
The 50th and final level in this game is, of course, the infamous boss battle and, boy, was I saddened to see it was a single-screen. I guess Karoshi 2 just set the bar too high for me. With that aside, the story ends abrupty and the boss wasn’t as unique as it was “meh”. The idea of the boss can be found in previous Karoshi titles. I won’t ruin it for anyone, but the mecha-Boss even hints to you how to beat him. Once I read his speech bubble, the goal was very clear.
Sure, the ending wasn’t outstanding, but the game was great. The graphics were fun, the music was up to par with previous Jake Almond work, the levels were the perfect difficulty and the few “extra features” are nice for some time. Mr. Karoshi isn’t my favorite game in the series, but it gets the job done and provides a great few hours of entertainment.
Mr. Karoshi is $0.99/£0.59 on the App Store.