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Bustin Beaver and his beaver bandits have stolen your wood, and being the cartoonish lumberjack that you are, you must punch them to get it back – or something like that. It doesn’t really matter; the motivation behind the fast-paced, hard-as-nails lumber-fueled platforming isn’t important. What matters is that Lumber Jacked delivers plenty of quick-hit fun.
Lumber Jacked is filled with cute, 2D action platforming aesthetics that, when paired with the wonderful musical score, draw you into the beaver-punching world a bit more with each new level. Sixty stages in total round out the initial offering, with more promised down the line via updates. But the game's greatest strength comes not from its presentation, but rather deep and speedy gameplay that will keep you coming back for more, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. Each level lasts about 30-45 seconds or less, during which you'll sprint to the goal, punch beavers, and optionally seek out a hidden collectable, and a good amount of progress can be made even on a limited time schedule.
The difficulty curve isn’t steep, but it certainly doesn’t let you off easy either. Most players will likely make it through the first 10 levels with three stars (the highest score for each level) without much issue, but once you progress past that, it's tough to decide whether to move on with a lesser score or replay a level multiple times to finish it completely. Despite the need to often replay stages, the gameplay doesn’t grow tiresome. In fact, the constant replays and attempts to shave seconds off of completion times only heightens enjoyment of Lumber Jacked, as it thrives upon this constant need for improvement.
As a platformer, though, Lumber Jack does require ultra-precise controls, which can be tough to emulate with virtual inputs. Instead of opting for a potentially tricky virtual thumbstick, Lumber Jacked uses two arrows that respectively allow for right and left movement, tasking the player with using the jump button to figure out the rest. It's a limiting scheme, but one that works well enough for the objectives at hand.
The bottom line. Lumber Jacked is a stellar retro-stylized platformer that’s challenging to no end and will keep you replaying stages to enjoy its brutal objectives and cutesy aesthetics.
iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone running iOS 5.0 or later.
Engaging quick-hit platform action. Brutal difficulty allows for a mountain of replayability. Cute art style and soundtrack, plus an amusing premise.
Controls can be somewhat limiting. Later stages can be brutally difficult.