Climate Island, home to over-inflated birds, surprisingly deadly piles of jelly, and enough dynamite blocks to stagger Wiley Coyote. Super Ubie Island Remix is a fun, but punishing, platformer that is an odd mix of Alien Hominid and Mario World. The game gives very little explanation and has no checkpoints, yet somehow the plucky soundtrack and addicting goal of collecting bees/ferns kept it interesting and highly replayable.
Describing the story of Super Ubie Island Remix is a difficult task. A small alien crash-lands on Climate Island and has to recover pieces to its ship, all the while simultaneously saving bees to appease a queen who hands out presents, and picking ferns to befriend a man who lives in a sushi cave. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it doesn’t necessarily need to, because it makes for fun gameplay and interesting level variations. The game progresses through various worlds with traditional themes (green, desert, ice, etc.), and at the end of each is a boss who is holding on to a piece of the alien’s ship. The boss battles quickly ramp up in difficulty, with the first being slightly challenging, but the second taking over ten tries to beat.
The controls for the game are alright once you get the hang of them. The game does not offer a tutorial on the first level, so it’s a lot of trial and error trying to figure out what options the player has for level navigation. For example, there are some areas where jumping between walls is necessary, but the game never explains that this can be done or how to do it. The game functions on a basic jump, double jump, and glide system for traversing the maps, and for the most part it works well. A few levels were especially frustrating because of blocks of TNT/exploding birds of instant death that were placed very close together. More than once I found myself stuck on the end of a level, unable to clear a small gap because of the finicky jump system. With no checkpoints, it got aggravating fast.
Each world in Super Ubie Island has its own unique feel to it. There were specific obstacles that could only be found in certain worlds, and the enemies varied enough to keep it from seeming too repetitive. The level design reminded me a lot of the Rayman series in that they were cartoony and focused a lot around gliding to traverse wide-open spaces. However, the levels of Super Ubie Island are small, and in some cases very sparse. The background doesn’t change much in between levels of the same world and after seven levels can be a bit bland. It would have been nice to see more variation in the level aesthetic, rather than just swapping out obstacles.
The enemies of Super Ubie Island are fun and goofy. While I’m not sure why Climate Island is inhabited by over-inflated birds that occasionally explode, they didn’t feel out of place. I would have liked a little back story on why the characters were attacking the alien (even a simple, “they’re being controlled by this bad guy” would have done), but in the end I squashed them anyway (jump on head first, ask questions later).
Super Ubie Island’s replayability comes from its collection system. First, there is the traditional three gold coins (in this case bees) hidden on each level. These bees are delivered to a queen, who then hands out presents as thanks for saving her “children”. The second form of collectable is through pulling weeds on each level. These weeds respawn every time the player starts a level again, and stay in their inventory after death. These can be brought to a man living in a sushi cave who will also give the player presents. In addition to the collectables, the player can also spend coins to buy soundtrack pieces and skins for the main character.
Overall, Super Ubie Island is a pretty good Mario clone that doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from other platformers. The animations are interesting and the design is good, but there’s not quite enough variation to make each stage feel unique from others in the same world. For anyone who’s looking for a cheap, fun, indie platformer; Ubie Island is the game. It’s worth the price, even if it’s just a simple Mario clone.