Hands-On Preview: Super Lemonade Factory

If there’s one thing the indie scene has proven on iOS, it’s that heavily pixelated 2D graphics are anything but obsolete. Poised to join the likes of Super Brothers: Swords and Sworcery EP and The Other Brothers in that regard is Super Lemonade Factory, due to hit the App Store in March courtesy of Initials Command.

Retro fans will readily make room for another platformer with sprites and thumping chiptunes that could have come straight from the NES era, but Lemonade stands out as one of the more avant-garde titles in that crowd. Like a good indie film, Lemonade benefits from its low budget feel because technical simplicity has shifted the developer’s focus onto what matters most. So it is that we get a game starring husband-and-wife team Andre and Liselot, who’ve freshly inherited a giant soft drink factory suspiciously set up with high walls, floating platforms, giant crates, and lots of spikes. Not to mention, they get knocked clean over by any inspector, policeman or worker they happen to bump into. Some welcoming party this has turned out to be!

Andre and Liselot have to rely on teamwork if they’re to make their way from the factory’s warehouse to its management office and assume command. Switching between them on-the-fly with a swipe at the touchscreen, the player makes use of Liselot’s double jump and Andre’s ability to shoulder through giant crates to resolve challenges one or the other isn’t suited for. Advanced levels feel like tightly wound knots; much of the challenge lies in getting one or the other un-stuck, and once they’re united the rest of the dominoes fall in due course. In a very nice touch, Liselot can stop enemies for a chat that serves two purposes: a quick swipe lets the player take control of Andre and sneak by in a pinch, while the paused enemy’s text bubble reveals something about Lemonade’s Cold War-era game world.

If the screenshot from our playthrough of the beta doesn’t convince you just how retro this game feels, a quick listen to the soundtrack composed by Easyname definitely will! It’s a hard-hitting set of chiptunes that lends the game a way more exciting atmosphere than you’d expect to find in the innards of a glorified soft drink factory. Initials Command has even called on a talented voice actor to add some more audio power to cutscenes with incredible results.

We’ll have a full review of Lemonade once it lands in the App Store, but you can find lots more details on the official website and keep an eye on Initials Command’s Twitter feed for the latest news. Oh heck, just go and play it in your web browser – and design some levels for an upcoming contest – here if you’re curious!