Whipseey and the Lost Atlas is a platformer created by Daniel Ramirez, published by Blowfish Studios. The game draws heavy inspiration from classic games such as the Kirby series and more specifically a gem called Mr. Gimmick, which released back in 1992 on the NES. Whipseey does its job in the pixel graphics and has charming tunes to listen to along the way. The tight controls make it a fine experience, but its length and lack of depth will have you wanting more than what is offered.
The game begins with a short pixel cut-scene of a boy reading a book and ends up finding himself trapped into that world, slowly transforming into the character Whipseey — a Kirby-like protagonist with a Jigglypuff hairdo and isn’t floaty — who must overcome a set of levels to escape the entrapment. It’s all very simply presented like a relic from the past and with no explanation to controls, players are immediately hopping into the game choosing from one of three save slots.
The controls are easy to get into. B allows Whipseey to jump where holding it down determines the height of his jumps, and pressing Y will perform a whip attack. Pressing jump while in the air and holding it down will allow Whipseey to helicopter glide his way down ala Dixie Kong. The only other thing his whip is good for besides attacking enemies is latching onto connect points that serves as a swinging rope to reach the next platform. Swinging is automatic and not controlled by the player so only timing the jumps is needed.
Controlling Whipseey actually feels tight and responsive. His animation isn’t stiff when walking and platforming feels precise and offers a pretty standard challenge. Sometimes jumping to a platform while attacking an enemy must be done. Other times proper timing is required. Whipseey and the Lost Atlas certainly isn’t difficult to the average and pro gamer, but losing lives is a probability. Defeating enemies will drop bits or shards to collect and behave like coins in a Mario game where collecting 100 will reward the player with an extra life. Sometimes a larger blue shard will drop and are worth more.
Enemies definitely take inspiration from classic platformers and they are varied enough. Some hop through the air like the Fire Snake from Super Mario Bros. 3. Others shoot projectiles. The best challenge comes from the 5 different bosses, each being the end of their own levels. With as many levels are there are fingers to a hand, Whipseey and the Lost Atlas is a rather short experience. The levels themselves are not long at all, but each section feels good enough that you’d only wish there was more of the game to go through. The pixel art is vibrant, nostalgic. The music is charming, chippy. More meat to the game and it could actually be stronger than it is now, because the controls and platforming actually get the job done. There’s just no depth to it.
Having taken heavy inspiration from 1992’s Mr. Gimmick, Whipseey and the Lost Atlas could have done more with their levels. Each part of a level offers something new, but you’ll whip through them in no time at all. Take Mr. Gimmick for example. There are hidden secrets and different paths to take. Whipseey just goes from point A to point B with nothing else to see. It’s a shame, too, because so many times in levels I thought there may have been secrets to see. The designs of the levels and its appearance make it seem like there’s something above the screen, a hidden door, or something beneath the waters. In my playtime, I’ve found nothing of the sort. This isn’t to say Whipseey and the Lost Atlas doesn’t deserve to be played; I certainly had a jolly time. A jolly full hour (just under).