The life of a donut must be tough. Generally speaking, your range of motion is poor, you’re delectable to just about everyone, and more times than not you find yourself dunked in a cup of milk or coffee. In the platform puzzler Cranked Up by BBlack Studios, that is your general goal, safely finding your way from the starting line to the cup of coffee at the end. Is Cranked Up the tasty treat you’re looking for? Find out in our Cranked Up Review.
If you are a friend and fan of platformers, Cranked Up is an interesting puzzle platformer, with a very tricky gimmick. As a donut, your mode of transportation resides in rolling your body across the landscape, hopping over obstacles, balancing on ledges, and bypassing hazards that could kill you by a single touch. If that wasn’t difficult enough, you have two little rockets attached to your donut body, and you have to time your rocket boosts in coordination with your movements, unless you want to completely lose control and die a horrible, horrible pastry death. As a mechanic, the timing of your rocket boosts can be both satisfying, when you time them properly, and frustrating if your rocket isn’t pointing the right way.
I’m not rocket scientist, nor do I understand basic donut physics as well as I would like, but the overall gameplay, utilizing the rocket system to maneuver around the horizontal and vertical landscape is the primary challenge in Cranked Up, and therefore a remarkably mixed bag of enjoyment and irritation. Early on in Cranked Up, BBlack Studios clues you in that the preferred mode to play is with a controller. Timing your rocket boosts revolves around utilizing the left and right triggers, the left trigger for the left boost, the right trigger for the right, and these rockets rotate around you, with the mid point being the crux of where your direction can change if you aren’t paying attention enough. If you hold both triggers together, you stop moving entirely, which is a much more useful skill than I originally gave it credit for.
As you progress through the levels you need to time your jumps, stop on obstacles, and move quickly around levels that aren’t always clear where your objectives are. This leads into some of the design being puzzle centric, as you may first think that you can simply hop down onto an open street, only to find that it wasn’t the intended objective and you’ve just died instantly. Throughout your journey, you can find secret cups to hop into which opens up additional levels, and several collectibles hidden throughout each level to increase the replay-ability of levels you passed previously. Eventually, you can unlock new types of donuts to choose.
Cranked Up provides a solid platforming experience that would probably be more enjoyable, but much less challenging had it not been for the rocket-rolling system. With the rockets included, this game is a unique, if not frustrating take on a puzzle-platformer that will either be a real treat for the highly coordinated, or leave some players yelling at their screen, their hands, and their brightly colored pixelated donut friend.