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Robot Unicorn Attack levels up

Adult Swim has released the sequel to its runaway hit Robot Unicorn Attack, and you may find it to be more magnificent than you could have dreamed.

Adult Swim has released the sequel to its runaway hit Robot Unicorn Attack, and you may find it to be more magnificent than you could have dreamed.

(Credit: PikPok)

You thought Robot Unicorn Attack had it all. Rainbows. Tears. A soundtrack that could not be more perfect. Tremendous flaming explosions. But the side-scrolling endless runner was just biding its time, waiting to spring us with the next level in doomed robot unicorns: Robot Unicorn Attack 2.

Spiritonin Media Games, which created the original Flash game that appeared on the Adult Swim website, has been replaced by New Zealand Studio PikPok. You might know PikPok from Monsters Ate My Condo and Monster Flip. The result is a game much more consistent with today's mobile gaming experience, while retaining the game's utter gloriousness.

When you load it up for the first time, the first thing you'll notice is that graphically, the game looks absolutely stunning. Although the basic elements are the same — robot unicorn, check; rocky plateaus, check — the imagery has been updated to reflect what you might see on the cover of an old pulp sci-fi novel or progressive rock album cover. It's lush, it's pastel, and there are some amazing creatures moving through the backgrounds, if you can tear your eyes away from where you're going, risking a horrifying fiery death.

(Credit: PikPok)

There are more elements actually in the game, as well. In the original version, gameplay was very simple, requiring just two actions. You had to run and jump between platforms, being careful not to crash due to an ill-timed jump, breaking apart metal stars with dashes of speed, and collecting fairies on the way.

Those platforms still form the core of the RUA2 experience, but there are more elements thrown in to add to the challenge: unicorn tears that you collect along the way to buy things with (more on that below), hoops to jump through to multiply your score and laser-firing stone giants that will burn you up if you don't time your attack just so.

That all makes for a busier game, but there's a lot more going on outside of the gameplay. The unicorn tears we mentioned can be used to purchase things to improve your unicorn's performance. The first of these is power-ups, which can be used to give you a boost. You can have three power-ups activated at any given time, but each time you use them, they'll cost you tears. The power-ups include things like a tear and fairy magnet, so you don't have to aim quite so precisely; a head start that allows you to reach higher scores faster; and a free automatic dash through a star or a giant.

(Credit: PikPok)

The second thing you can use your tears on is customising your unicorn with different robot bodies, manes and tails, horns and the trail that streams behind as it runs. These not only make your unicorn look all fancy, they also come with different bonuses, such as longer dashes, more air jumps and faster acceleration, so you can make your unicorn suit your play style. Oh, and wings. So you can fly.

Finally, you can use them to unlock a new world — but, since that automatically happens when you reach Level 15 anyway, you might want to save them.

Yes, levels. When you start the game, you're presented with a series of challenges: hit a certain distance, collect a certain number of fairies, jump through a number of hoops. As you advance through the levels, you unlock more power-ups and doodads to fancy up your unicorn.

Meanwhile, there's a further incentive to play. Eventually, you'll be asked to pick a faction: Team Rainbow or Team Inferno. Every day, there's a bonus to the first team that reaches the collective goal (today, it's jumping through 870,000 hoops).

And if you open it up and wonder where the soundtrack to the first game, "Always" by Erasure, has gone, never fear — when you reach level five, you can purchase a variety of tracks for AU$0.99 apiece (they need to fund the music licence somehow). We, however, did not opt for "Always". Because we found "Never Ending Story" by Limahl — yes, that NeverEnding Story — and let us tell you, it makes the best soundtrack ever.

Initially, we have to admit, we were not sold on the new version. But now we feel that both games offer a different experience: Robot Unicorn Attack with its simplicity, a perhaps cleaner and purer experience; and Robot Unicorn Attack 2 with its challenges, levels and battles for something just a little bit more grandiose.

Robot Unicorn Attack for iOS (Free)