Appel: Even after 2 years, it’s still good

There’s something to be said about Griffpatch’s many games. Insane quality and continuous breaking of Scratch’s limits all add up to some amazing and well-crafted experiences. It’s no wonder that he is the most followed user on Scratch. Heck, he even made one of the most well-known Scratch projects ever, a 2D recreation of Minecraft.

And on December 21st, 2020, Appel was released to the world.

The main menu of Appel, version 1.4.
The main menu of Appel v1.4

It was a platformer, but unlike the millions of generic, copy-pasted, carbon-copy platformers, this one was scrolling, had enemies with a bit of rudimentary AI, boss fights, and a freakin level editor. And shortly after launch, it blew up, thanks to the Griffpatch bless/curse (“even if he shared a blank project, it would still get extremely popular”). 

And it’s easy to see why.

First off, it was a true, original platformer on a site dominated by popular generic platformers, and for most of us, that was extremely refreshing.

Take this:

A generic platformer project.

and compare it to this:

The beginning of the second level of Appel.

There is a big difference there, right? 

Everything about Appel has that Griffpatch charm, and that rubs off in a lot of elements. Well, here’s why Appel is still good, even after two years have passed.

Unique levels

Appel’s core levels provide a lot of challenges. Although it might seem brutally hard at first to successfully jump up a wall without getting impaled on some spikes, after a good amount of practice, you’ll eventually make it up. This is aided by your ability to stick to ceilings, so you can jump-attack enemies and safely observe the patterns of things like crushers and moving platforms. Even then, there are checkpoints absolutely everywhere in each stage, and they’re often placed right before difficult platforming segments.

The enemies play a big role in this too. Some can be easily bopped on the head, and they explode into bits. Others wear spikes on their head that result in you getting bopped in the foot and exploding into bits. 

Solid platforming

Again, this game is a platformer, so what’s a platformer without platforming? Sometimes, you’ll fall off platforms and have to either respawn or make your way back up again. It’s oftentimes like a typical Mario game. There are also bits where you can do some additional platforming to get around hard spots.

Compared to a typical generic platformer, where there are some basic jumps and lava to avoid, Appel has things like spike pits and enemies that charge or gang-rush you. Some you can defeat, others you can’t. All in all, good levels.

Decent controls

How are you supposed to play a game if you can’t control it? Appel works really well in the controls department. Appel uses the mouse to navigate menus and use the level editor (more on that later!), and the arrow keys for actually moving (for right-handed people, at least). Left and right arrows/A and D keys are move in their said directions, the down arrow/S key is crouch, and the up arrow key/W key is jump. The easiest way for me to use this (and i will write this as “right-handed/left-handed”) is put your middle-finger/ring finger on up arrow/W, and pointer/pinky on left arrow/A, and right-ring finger/left-middle finger on right-arrow/D, and press with the needed finger to move. 

Appel controls nicely. They are not exactly tight by any means, but they are at least fairly responsive, which is good because you’ll be doing a lot of reflex actions here. If you use TurboWarp and a controller, you will experience some slight delay but it won’t detrimentally affect your experience.

Creative gimmicks

As I said before, Appel isn’t your typical lava-and-platforms game. There’s stuff like crushers that, well, crush you and force a respawn, but in some levels you can ride on them to access secrets for more collectibles. There are big blocks that if you get too close will actually flip over and smush you if you don’t get away fast enough (this is sometimes used in puzzles to make it possible to cross some gaps). There’s plenty more, but I’ll let you play the game and figure out how they work.

Level editor and fan-made levels

One of Appel’s many features, alongside the main story, is a level editor where you can make you own levels. You have stuff like enemies, obstacles, terrain, apples, a lot of what the game has to offer at your command, and you can build whatever you like, and then save, play and even share them.

The Appel level editor, as of version 1.4.

There’s a whole plethora of levels out there for you to explore, and by simply looking in the level repository, you’ll definitely find some you like. 

Well, that’s kinda why I think Appel is still good, even after 2 years. If you want, I highly recommend playing the game for yourself. Have a great rest of your day/night/whatever.