Just like its predecessor, this Game Boy-style pixel art platformer prides itself on being tougher than frozen toffee. A typical stage features spiked walls and ceilings, projectile spitting turrets, and floors coated in fast-moving saw blades. Our vitamin-rich hero dies with one hit, and as there are no checkpoints, it can be a relief to find a safe place to rest for a few seconds.
Here, you’ll be mastering the double-jump – the spherical star’s sole ability. The controls are remarkably responsive, making it possible to change direction mid-jump – a manoeuvre that’s often required to avoid projectiles while reaching new heights.
A stage typically takes at least a dozen attempts to beat, forcing you to memorise hazard movement patterns and master pixel-perfect jumps. If you want to earn an achievement for your efforts, you’ll need to sniff out every collectable too, some of which are located in optional rooms.
As somebody who was weaned on mascot driven ‘90s platformers, it’s unusual to play something this heavily stripped back. There’s no plot – ergo no cut-scenes – and so there’s not even the faintest indication of the pea’s motivation; some context would have been appreciated. For better or worse, there’s no core gimmick either. The exceedingly tough difficulty level is its unique selling point.
Nevertheless, this sequel is superior to its middling predecessor. The level design is more consistent, and it does a far better job of preparing you for the challenges ahead. Presentation is far slicker too – the pea’s jumping animation now has a playful spin, and the chiptunes are more upbeat – which helps in making the mere £4-£5 asking price even more appealing.
While it’s limited in what it can offer, lacking in certain areas to presumably keep things bloat-free, the fundamentals are refined and handled with an air of confidence. If you’re up for some precision platforming, give peas a chance.