“Play as a treasure seeking canary and drill through [four] unique worlds of action packed platforming. Can you survive the infested depths below and attain everlasting glory?”
“TAILSPIN!” is a platformer that is about more than just running and jumping. In addition to these familiar movement patterns, the feathered protagonist can also move through loose soils with the help of a mobile drilling apparatus. However, the drill has a few more uses thanks to its materiality. For example, if it is actuated in mid-air, it can extend the distance covered by a jump. Alternatively, you can also push forward against hard surfaces with the metallic tip, which will then virtually throw you back in the form of a wall jump. Perfect mastery of the drill is the key to successfully traverse all twenty-four levels and – if you are completist – gather all the collectibles at the end.
After all, in each stage of “TAILSPIN!” are hidden not only a lot of diamonds, but also a golden scarab. These are in often hard-to-reach places, but with some skill (or a little bit of luck) you can overcome any obstacle. But do not get your hopes up: This game keeps presenting its players with huge challenges. However, it must be emphasized once again that this game always presents its players with huge challenges. This is not only due to the different types of monsters – from slowly creeping larvae to poison-spitting giant bacteria – but also to the fascinating level design.
Very often I felt on the verge of insanity as I played through “TAILSPIN!”. At some points I failed a dozen times, with my reactions ranging from angry lip-biting to desperate laughter. The game knows how to punish the inattention of its players and their rash actions. But it is precisely this level of difficulty that makes even the smallest success come with a massive sense of relief. Each checkpoint, of which there is usually only one per level, invites you to take a short breath before facing the next obstacle. Take this short time out because your patience will be tested no matter what.
There is also quite a lot to be excited about on an audiovisual level with this jam submission. The wonderful pixel art combined with the different background songs for each of the four main worlds simply creates a really fitting mood. You will feel like a foreign body in the mines and caves, which are otherwise filled with insect monsters, elastic mushrooms as well as deadly spikes – and that might be exactly the motivation why you want to find the exit as fast as possible. But believe me when I tell you that this journey can be a long one. I already bow to all the foolish souls who will try to achieve a no-death run of “TAILSPIN!”. [PLAY]