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Netflix’s latest game is a fresh take on platforms

When you think of platforming, you probably think of jumping. Whether we’re talking about classic side-scrolling adventures or large three-dimensional worlds, simple movement is a staple of the genre. But Lucky LunaThe latest release in Netflix’s newest games service offers something a little different: it does away with the jump altogether.

Lucky Luna In a beautiful pixel art world filled with ancient ruins and task players navigate a series of levels to uncover its secrets. It features many staples of the genre, such as collectable orbs, hidden areas, moving platforms, deadly spikes, and enemies that move in specific patterns. The twist is the lack of a jump button. In fact, Lucky Luna There are no on-screen buttons at all. To move, you swipe left or right; A hard swipe sees Luna dash across the screen, while lighter taps result in smaller movements. Using limited options along with smart timing to avoid obstacles and finish each stage is a safe turn.

I played the first few levels and I can tell Lucky Luna Definitely very challenging, I was also surprised how quickly I adapted to the lack of a jump button. After a few steps, I didn’t miss it at all; Vertical levels are cleverly designed around a swipe mechanic that feels natural once you learn to let go of a jump. It’s like an inversion Super Mario RunAnother mobile platform takes over but jumping is the main way to interact with the world.

A screenshot from the Netflix mobile game Lucky Luna.

Image: Snowman

According to Andrew Schimmel, a producer at developer Snowman — it’s well-known Alto A series of snowboarding games — the idea is to “evoke but not resemble the classic experiences we grew up with. We didn’t feel like Endless Runner could really capture the feeling we wanted to follow. The decision to remove the jump button came later in development, but it obviously had a major impact on the experience. “It was tough, but it really allowed us to lean on the level design and be more creative,” he explained. “That’s why we go with one touch and then try to introduce something new at each level.”

Although Netflix launched its mobile gaming efforts last year, the service still hasn’t gained much traction since then. The quality of games available has definitely improved with notable titles like into the breech And Heads up Coming to service. For Snowman, the studio couldn’t turn down Netflix’s potential audience. “We’ve reached a lot of people with our previous work, but this is like a new potential audience,” explains Snowman Creative Director Ryan Cash. “And I think it’s always exciting to be a part of something even in the earlier days. This is really attractive to us. “

On mobile, Netflix joins Apple Arcade as part of the growing scene for subscription games. And Snowman was heavily involved in that scene; The studio released several games in the arcade, including an enhanced edition of the hit Aalto’s Odyssey. The rise of these services has opened up a new avenue for game developers to release quality premium experiences without having to worry about monetizing them. Cash foresees more changes in the space over the next few years — and for now, Snowman has a front-row seat. “We’re watching it unfold before us.”

Lucky Luna Available on iOS and Android via Netflix starting today.

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