Pogo Sticker


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DaddalumaJetro Lauha, is probably not a name you're familiar with. However, most everyone who enjoys casual games has at one point played that game where you threw a ragdoll dummy down a flight of stairs attempting to cause as much damage to him as possible. . . yes? That game was called Porrasturvat, better known as Stair Dismount, and it caused quite a stir in the online community when it was released back in 2002. We all spent as least a few minutes toying with the angles and the power, laughing with glee as the dummy bounced down the stairs and landed painfully on his head. Good times.

Pogo StickerJetro's latest offering, Pogo Sticker, is a wonderfully fun and free, physics-based downloadable game in which the goal is to guide a brightly colored pogo sticking blob safely to the exit platform in each of the game's 12 levels.

The award winning game took 1st place in the Mindtrek 2005 casual game competition and 3rd in Assembly 2005 game development competition. Jetro designed and programmed the game while Sara Kapli, Antti Tiihonen and Joona Poikonen provided most of the graphics and level design. There are versions available for all three major platforms—Mac, PC and Linux.

The controls are very simple and done entirely with the mouse. If you drag your mouse to the left or right of your character, he will lean and move in that direction. The farther you drag the mouse the sharper the angle gets and the faster he moves. Clicking either mouse button will increase the power of your jumps. Too much and your character will crash into the ceiling and damage his fragile head. If you take too much damage, you die and have to restart the level. You must also restart if you run out of momentum and can no longer jump.

Restarting is not a big deal though as you can try as many times as you like, and the levels are all beatable in under 30 seconds (though this will take practice). The game comes with a timer which will record how long it takes you to beat each level. You can win green, yellow and red lollipops based on your time, and if you manage to do extremely well on a given level, you can win the highest award, the super lollipop which indicates you've beaten the best score of the developers. I've only managed to get this on 2 levels so far, despite getting what I thought were some amazing times on other levels.

Pogo StickerThe graphics are bright and colorful and deceive the player into thinking that the game is alot easier than it is. The music and sound effects are lighthearted and fun for a while, but can get tiresome, especially when you're getting frustrated from continually dying on the same level over and over and over again. Fortunately they can both be turned off easily.

Pogo Sticker is not available in a browser, unfortunately, but the download is tiny (1.1 MB), and it's a really wonderful game which is definitely worth a look.

Analysis: Pogo Sticker is great fun. When I first played the game, I was having too much fun to notice any flaws, but now that I've finished the game, there are a few things that I feel could use improvement:

1) The default mode for the game is to run in a window, which caused a big problem for me. Since the speed of the pogo sticker is based on how far you move your cursor away from him, naturally, there are times when you want to have the mouse right on the edge of the game screen. However it's very easy to overshoot and move the cursor outside of the game screen's area, and since clicking the mouse is the only way to increase the jump power, I very often found myself clicking outside of the game causing the window to go inactive or bringing other windows to the front. Fortunately, the game pauses when this happens, so you can't inadvertently die while you don't have control. Unfortunately, this is only a small consolation, as the constant pausing is distracting and usually results in your death anyway. The game does have a fullscreen mode which solves this problem, but you have to manually select this, or create your own desktop shortcut.

2) The level design is not spectacular. Aside from the bright colors, most of the levels are not terribly visually appealing. Many have entire sections which are unnecessary, and almost all of them have random constructions in odd places which don't affect the gameplay at all and are more distracting to the eye than anything else. Each level is generally fun to play through once or twice, but none of them really made me want to play again. The physics engine powering this game offers quite a large range of movement to the players, but unfortunately the levels themselves are not greatly varied and much of the freedom that the physics engine allows is wasted. For instance the pogo sticker is capable of jumping very fast and high, yet there are no levels with wide open spaces in which to make use of that power.

3) Finally, this game just screams out for a level editor and a high score board, neither of which appear to exist.

With more and better levels, a high score board, and the ability to create, download and play custom levels, this game could have had a much greater lasting appeal. As it is, Pogo Sticker is still great fun for an hour or so, perfect for a lunch break diversion. Click.

22 Comments

Wow, great. And who can forget Rekkaturvat, otherwise known as Truck Dismount?? Certainly not I.....

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Daddaluma Author Profile Page March 15, 2006 4:05 AM

There's a new version in the works where players can create their own levels. I believe it's in a sort of beta stage right now.

I haven't looked at it, but you can download a "preview" and some mods on this page: http://jet.ro/dismount/

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I love Truck Dismount so much. Possibly too much...

Also, I think that that game's been in beta for the last 2 or 3 years, if not longer...

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Reminds me of the very beautiful, very difficult Saltacol.
http://jayisgames.com/archives/2004/12/saltacol.php

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SUPER lollypop in run if you dare

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Thank you very much for great feedback! (I'm the developer.)

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Watch your head was the hardest.
Coincidentally, that's the only one I've gotten a super lollipop in.

Also, Daddaluma, you aren't talking about Pogo Sticker, are you? The link you gave is to the Dismount page.

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Daddaluma Author Profile Page March 17, 2006 12:03 AM

No, that was in response to the first post by Noah.

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!shgab!bble? Author Profile Page March 17, 2006 12:27 AM

Now are the super lollipops the red ones?

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Super Lollypop on Basement #5... i still cant do "watch your head"... i must have tried over 200 times seing as ive been doing it continuously for about an hour... *bashes keyboard* i HATE levels like that... HATE HATE HATE ARGHHH

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Ack! So hard to get a jump the power level I wanted. As far as left and right movment control... where was it? I certainly could not find it!

I liked the Basement where it's possible to bounce down the walls of the shaft after the first floor segment. Other than that I only got to Up, Up and away before i got frustrated/board.

Too much twitch, level should start with some warning or user input, and the mouse for control wasnt great plus the default window mode didn't help.

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Super lollipop on Down We Go, 23.12! Woo! Now if only I could remember how I did it...

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Hard to belive, but I got a super lollipop on EVERY LEVEL. I know, it ROX!!! Really cool game, but they should have a level editor and a free mod where theres no celiling and just cool hills so you can hop higher than the empire state building :)

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Does anyone else notice how much the 2 characters resemble Mario and Luigi? Short and red, tall and green....

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mossberg590a1 April 3, 2006 7:57 AM

Oh yeah!
I completed the game in 2 days but I think the hardest level is Mind you head.

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Hey, how the hell earn super lollipop on first level ?

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Oh man, I played Stair Dismount a while ago, and I could never find it again. Thanks for that link.

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For a newer weird game from me, check out Racing Pitch: http://skinflake.com/games/prototypes
You have to drive a racing car using your voice and a microphone. :)

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super lollipop on all the levels.. guess i have too much free time. :D

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Super lolipops on EACH level? Darn, you guys are good at this. I managed to got Red Lollipops on every level, but only 1 super lolipop (the black, electrical weird ones...)

Hey, anyone gotten better than:

  • 3:26 on level 1 (Take It Easy)

  • 30.52 on level 9 (Up Up and Away)

  • 22:19 on Level 10 (Down We Go)(Super Loli on this one)

  • I find that the taller, green pogo sticker is easier to control, but sometimes can't fit into tight spaces. This game really needs more levels, and more characters, and more terrains... The trick to to getting a quick time is to not be afraid of losing, and just make a few big bounces.

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    YES! Sorry for double post.

    Got Super Lollipop for the Basement level! (time - 10:73) And the Watch Your Head Level! (time - 38:24)

    Hmm.. what I really want to know is how on earth you're supposed to be able to get the Super Lolipop for level 1. )=.

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    William March 7, 2008 2:48 PM

    I have a Super Lollipop on every one except the first two, Take It Easy and Ice & Jumps... (No idea how to get supers on these two... :S )

    My times are:

    1. Take it Easy -- 3:40 (R)
    2. Ice & Jumps -- 4:86 (R)
    3. Run if you dare - 5:53 (S)
    4. Sewers -- 3:87 (S)
    5. Basement -- 10:67 (S)
    6. The Hill -- 6:64 (S)
    7. Purple Haze -- 6:17 (S)
    8. U-Turn -- 6:68 (S)
    9. Up, Up and Away - 17:74 (S)
    10. Down We Go -- 20:19 (S)
    11. Watch Your Head -19:98 (S)
    12. Rifts -- 7:42 (S)

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