Nothing is stronger than the bond of a boy and his dog. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what I did when I picked up Miles & Kilo. An 8-bit 2D platformer featuring a boy and an adorable puppy, what’s not to love? I had so much fun with every well-timed jump, slide, and thrown fruit during my time with this game. Miles and Kilo prove that this genre is far from dead.
Miles & Kilo follows the story of a young man and a lovable dog as they become stranded on a mysterious archipelago. Due to the nefarious meddling of a ghastly specter, Miles’ plane crashes and a group of misfit monsters steal the parts to keep the duo landlocked. The protagonists are forced to give chase to these monsters so they can rebuild their plane and escape the dreaded island. With a plot that is easy to follow and a few quick-witted jokes, Miles & Kilo makes for an enjoyable experience that is fun for any age. It appeals to older gamers who like to reminisce about platformers of the late 80’s and 90’s, and younger gamers who will fall in love with the protagonists and fast paced action that is on display here.
The gameplay is a throwback to a simpler time. There are two buttons, jump and action. Jumping can be done at a variety of heights depending on how long the button is held for and is the key to getting through some of the trickier platforming sequences. The action button does anything from sliding under blocks, to throwing fruit or somersaulting into enemies. Although the control scheme is simple, mastering these techniques is essential for the later levels and can prove to be difficult. The protagonists will travel across beaches, over mountains, and even through a volcano, jumping on enemies and landing just right onto certain platforms.
There are a variety of enemies as every bird, frog, and spider on this island is after you. There are enough enemies to keep the game fresh throughout the entirety of the playthrough. The game strikes a great balance between levels chalked full of obstacles while not being too long or overcrowded. The levels are all about 30 seconds long and can be completed in a constant forward motion. Be warned though, there are no checkpoints, so if you die, you’re back to square one at the beginning of each level. I personally did not miss a checkpoint system, and with the levels being so brief, I think the game benefits from their exclusion. You are forced to memorize how to navigate the world and learn from your mistakes. While this does not exempt you from frustration, there is a great sense of relief when you finally complete a section you have been stuck on for a long time. It is that relief that makes each minute of this 2-hour long adventure worth it.
The music and graphics are what is expected from a late 80’s inspired platformer. The game features 8-bit sprites that look surprisingly good from afar. It is hard to objectively critique these aesthetic choices in 2019, because graphically this game can’t hold a candle to contemporary releases, but the developers were never aiming to compete in that respect, and that’s okay. Instead, this game has a very retro look and feel that plays at the nostalgic heart strings of any 80’s or 90’s kid. Even the music is reminiscent of old 8-bit adventures. While no melody is particularly memorable, they do evoke deeply buried memories of the somewhat catchy, somewhat annoying video game tunes of old. From both visual and audio standpoints, Miles & Kilo accomplishes what it sets out to do by throwing the gamer back in time. Why do I get the sudden urge to blow in a cartridge and hang video game cover art pin-ups along my bedroom walls?
Miles & Kilo, while only filling a couple of hours, has a shocking amount of replay value. There is a feature that ramps up the difficulty by constantly motioning the player forward which is perfect to enable on a second run. In addition to this, there are ranks dished out at the end of every level, encouraging gamers to go back and perfect the run. These perfectionist motivators are never over-imposing, and the consistent replays are actually a blast to engage in. Upon completion of the game for the first time, a time-attack mode is unlocked, exploring further ways to engage gamers to put in some overtime hours.
Ultimately, what this game boils down to is a lof of fun in an old-school package. I highly recommend it for every fan of 2D platformers or any gamer reminiscent of an age gone by. With a cute protagonist like Kilo, your local SPCA is praying you adopt this one, if for nothing else than to give this game a good home.
Replay Value: 5/5
Total: 18/25, or 72/100