The Commander Keen series were the finest platform games to come from the Apogee stable. In fact they were probably the greatest best home-grown PC platform games from the dawn of the 90s. Yeah yeah, some would say I’m not setting the highest of bars there. Still I reckon the forth and fifth games, together known as Goodbye Galaxy, were worthy challengers to the generally superior range of platformers on consoles (or the cursed Amiga).

Apart from a little-known outing on gameboy advance, the series has been dormant since 1991. So I was surprised to hear Bethesda announce a new Keen for mobile devices.

Details are a bit thin on the ground so I’ll just copy-paste from the official site:

○ Nefarious forces threaten humanity, and only twin geniuses Billy and Billie can stop them. Grab a shipload of gadgets, cuz it’s time to kick some asteroid!
○ Help Billie and Billy rescue Dadmiral Keen in the solo story mode, or go helmet-to-helmet for sweet prizes and bragging rights in the real-time Battle Mode!
○ Arm yourself with an arsenal of gadgets that blast, bounce, and baffle your enemies in order to become the ultimate commander.

So I don’t really know what to expect. I assume it won’t handle like a traditional platform game, however, since they tend to be utterly crippled by godawful touchscreen controls.

The emphasis on gadgets fits with the theme of Keen being a child genius; in the original games he built his own spacecraft and blaster gun. Putting my cynical hat on though, and knowing how mobile games work, I assume you’ll have to spend lots of real money, to buy fake money, to buy the best gizmos.

There’s also a rather slick promotional video that basically looks like a trailer for a kids cartoon series. It’s a million miles away from the EGA graphics of my childhood. My need for nostalgia was however partially sated when I noticed some familiar enemies – the doglike Vorticons and the signature dopefish.

I guess I’m neither super excited nor particularly angry about this. Enough nods to the old games may tempt me to give it a try. What I do demand to know, however, is when we are getting the long awaited BIO MENACE remake???