Hoppenhelm is a simple arcade game where you tap to hop around as a knight through a dungeon while trying to avoid obstacles and kill enemies. This makes it sound like yet another take on Crossy Road, and that's because that's basically what it is, but Hoppenhelm is a particularly good one of those. It takes a very simple set of mechanics and makes them feel awesome while cramming them into a bite-sized mobile package.
Hop till you drop
Hoppenhelm is a 2D endless runner that you control using three buttons: hop, attack, and block. Hopping moves your knight forward one space, while attacking and blocking protects you from the blobs, snakes, guillotines, and all sorts of other hazards in the dungeon you're progressing through.
The object of every run is to make it as far as possible without dying, which is a task that's easier said than done. Although you do get some time to react to things by virtue of controlling your own forward movement, Hoppenhelm puts constant time pressure on you in the form of a lava pit at the bottom of the screen that continuously rises when you stop moving.
As you die repeatedly in Hoppenhelm, you'll also be amassing a collection of coins, which you can use to unlock new knights and weapons to help you perform better on subsequent runs. Many of the weapons just increase your critical hit chance, but the new characters offer slightly more variety. Certain knights allow you to earn more coins on runs, for example, while others make you more durable or effective in combat.
All told, these unlocks don't really change up the gameplay too much, but they don't really have to. The fact of the matter is that Hoppenhelm has a great control scheme that feels tight, responsive, and totally satisfying. Its levels also feel designed to test your skills without feeling unfair. These unlocks are just gravy on a game that is already flat-out fun to play.
Hoppenhelm is a free-to-play game, and its monetization scheme involves pop-up ads that appear after a certain amount of runs. If you don't want to see these ads, the game offers a single in-app purchase of $1.99 to get rid of them. It's a simple strategy that doesn't feel too invasive, but it does get a little uncomfortable when looking at the game's continue system.
Whenever you die in Hoppenhelm, the game offers to let you continue if you care to part with 50 coins or watch an ad. While it's nice that Hoppenhelm doesn't let players buy gold to give themselves continues, any sort of score chaser that lets you watch ads to up your score feels kind of cheap.
The bottom line
Slight issues with the continue system aside, Hoppenhelm is a great arcade game. Hopping, chopping, and blocking all feel great, there's a fair sense of challenge, and there are unlocks to keep you working toward something on every run. There's very little not to like here, so hop on over to the App Store and give it a download.