Terra Noctis on iPhone and iPad: Retro Platform Action with a Little Nightmare Called Allen

By Bulent Yusuf on at

This is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, where the lead character jumps on heads, breaks blocks, and seeks out hidden bonus items. No prizes for guessing the inspiration. But it's a slick exercise in genre, with a premise that owes more to Monsters Inc than Super Mario Brothers, and for the most part it works a treat.

How does it play?

The game opens in a classroom, where Allen the Nightmare is being lectured by his teacher for not being scary enough. Poor little Allen takes refuge in the library, where he learns about a legendary monster that has the power to make him the scariest nightmare of all. Our hero sets off on a quest through the dreamlands to find said monster, running, jumping and exploring a whole swathe of fantasy worlds along the way.

The controls are simple, with just left and right buttons on the left side of the touchscreen, and a jump and crouch button on the right. An additional power that Allen has is to fling objects at enemies from a distance, by touching the direction you want him to fire in, but these projectiles are limited and require topping up.

Additionally, collecting little dream fairies scattered throughout the level can be used as currency to buy special power-ups in a shop staffed by a girl wearing a pumpkin on her head. The gang coding this game have clearly been eating a lot of hash brownies whilst on the job, but it's a game set in a dreamland so whatever, we can't fault the reach of their collective imagination.

Why do we like it?

The presentation of Terra Noctis is charming and whimsical. There's not much in the way of blood and guts on display, so adrenaline junkies will be disappointed. But the design of the landscapes, monsters and little Allen himself are torn straight from the pages of a bedtime storybook.

With that in mind, this is probably a game better suited for younger players. But grown-ups can find stuff to appreciate here as well, not least because it's the next best thing to having Super Mario World on your iOS device (until Nintendo cracks under the pressure and licenses an official release). Play Terra Noctis just before falling asleep, and you may well see it in your dreams.


Terra Noctis is available now on the App Store (69p)