Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure Mobile Review
Marc Ecko's Getting Up from Glu is an absolutely fantastic game and a testament to how game design can overcome technical limitations. Mobile developers often try to mimic the game designs of their console developer counterparts, while doing things like shifting the experience to 2D, or otherwise making it workable for the mobile medium. Getting Up, on the other hand, takes the basic premise of the console title, and uses that to build an entirely unique experience, filled with its own obstacles, goals, and mechanics.
When I was little I had an NES game called Back to the Future II & III. One of the enemies I had to avoid was a bouncing hamburger that was roughly the size of Marty. Never when I played the game did I question why Marty McFly had a giant bouncing hamburger as an obstacle; even at that tender age I understood that the enemy design (and the game design itself) was abstract. Marc Ecko's Getting Up follows that same ideal of abstract (and yet somehow perfectly logical) design. It's an ideal that was all but lost about the time the videogame industry entered the PS1 era.
In Getting Up gamers play as Trane, a graffiti artist living in the totalitarian city of New Radius. The Mayer has enabled a "100% increase in enforcement funding, paid for by cuts in social services," in order to wage war against the graffiti artists who encourage civil disobedience with their tags. Shortly into the game, once Trane has built up a rep for himself by completing a few levels, the Mayor confiscates all civilian helicopters, "including medical," to aid in his hunt. This is apparently one over-the-top bad dude.
As Trane makes his way through the jungle-gym-like levels he must pick up spray cans, each one giving the city a little more color and vibrance. As you progress, more types of spray cans are introduced- red cans, which have to be collected in order; purple cans, which must all be collected quickly; eventually green cans, which have to be collected quickly and in order.
It's the various obstacles and enemies that stand in Trane's way and try to prevent his spray can collecting that initially conjured up my Back to the Future II & III memory, and made the game so enjoyable. There are "drone guns," which are really just green lines that move in a pattern, and fire when Trane crosses their path. The aforementioned helicopters are represented by spotlights that rove across the screen. The fact that the developers opted to not depict these obstacles realistically, and instead made them objects that were fun to outsmart and avoid (usually through proper timing), shows excellent insight into mobile game design.
The other half of the game's fun factor comes from Trane's surprisingly fluid and fast movement. The game sometimes reminded me of an urban Sonic the Hedghog. Getting Up doesn't make the best initial impression because Trane is so tiny- nothing more than a couple pixels tall. I very quickly realized this decision was quite necessary to allow the speed and acrobatics that make the game so fun. In no-time you'll be making giant leaps into a wall, kicking off it to reach even greater heights, and then rebounding off of a trampoline. Trane's fluid movement and the game's emphasis on repeated and frequent walljumps make going through the levels a joy.
Getting Up isn't perfect- one oldschool bit of game design that should have stayed dead is technical platforming sections over instant-death pits right at the end of levels. The game also began to hitch in later levels when there were a lot of enemies on-screen. Neither prevented me from putting in several long play sessions until I'd cleared the entire quest, however. After that I still came back for more.
Marc Ecko's Getting Up is long, fun, and full of replay value. Buy it.
What's Hot: Lengthy, with good replay value. Excellent, fluid controls.
What's Not: Moving platforms over instant-death pits