The 2D Platformer is one of the most stocked genre cabinets on XBLIG. But when one filters out for quality, the number drops drastically. Apple Jack 2 would certainly be counted among the titles remaining. It’s quirky, it’s clever and above all else, it’s fun.
The story picks up after the first game’s ending. The titular character is sitting at work, reminiscing about previous adventures while lamenting his current, boring existence. So he does what any rational fruit-headed being would do — he strips naked, leaves his job and sets out in search of fun. His goal is the beach, and your nimble thumbs are his guide.
While there isn’t a great deal of complexity to the controls in Apple Jack 2, My Owl Software gets a great amount of mileage out of the functionality. The usual run, jump and wall jump abilities are present. You can duck which allows you to roll, and you can pick enemies up and throw them while standing on their heads.
Hit detection, however, is certainly a shortcoming. There were quite a few times the game decided I was dead, even though there was clear space between myself and whatever obstacle I supposedly hit. This problem is exacerbated on the highest difficulty setting and creates a relatively frustrating experience in some levels. However, lower difficulty settings have access to a rewind feature that helps negate this. Pressing and holding the Y button allows you to rewind the last seven to ten seconds of gameplay, which should negate any oddball mistakes that happen, whether you or the game are at fault. My advice would be stick to the lower difficulty tiers. The game, especially the back half, is infinitely more fun if you do.
In the end, Apple Jack 2 is among the best in its genre and sits comfortably toward the front of the XBLIG platforming class. He might be naked, but at least you know you’re going to have a good time.
This review is based on the press copy of the full XBLIG version of the game, which was provided by My Owl Software. The game is available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 80 Microsoft points ($1).