Jump. Fall. Repeat
Jump King is an extremely simple game with an extremely simple premise. You, as the titular Jump King, must climb a big a$$ tower cause there’s a smoking hot babe on top. That’s all you need to know and well, that’s all there is.
Now when I first read the synopsis, I got a general vibe that this would play out like Doodle Jump, where as soon as you touch a platform you would automatically jump and try to land on the next and so on. But oh no, that’s not how Jump King works.
To jump you press a button, like in all games. However, if you keep holding it and releasing after a while, you jump higher. Interesting, right? Well, we have seen similar mechanics previously in other games. Where Jump King is unique is that you don’t really have direct control of the jump or your movement while you are in the air. Usually in other games, when you jump you have control and can move your character in the air to stick the landing. Here, you hold on to the jump button, press or hold left and right on the D-Pad or analog stick, release the jump, and Jump King will jump in the direction you where aiming. This is where hell begins.
In case you still don’t understand how the whole jumping mechanic works, think how Angry Birds work. You drag the bird backward, aim with the help of the arrow or dotted line, and release. In Jump King, you don’t drag anything back, you just hold the button, hold left or right and release. You have no on-screen indicator of the jump-power or a prediction where you land, you just have to go with gut feel and muscle memory from all your previous fails.
Jump King is an evil game, but not in a bad way, just the intended way. All of the fun and the pain come from the way the levels are designed and where the platforms are placed. Once you start playing it, you quickly understand that this is the work of Satan himself, where if you are slightly off, like by a few pixels, you will miss landing on the next platform and will fall straight down this massive tower.
Don’t worry as there’s no penalty like death or anything like that. No, you just fall down to your face, rethink your life choices, regret from ever being born, quickly get up and begin jumping again, over and over again. I also must mention that in my 4 hours of play, I failed to meet the smoking hot babe and fell like 751 times, as the game has a tracker of your jumps and falls.
Visually the game has a pixel art style, but it’s not really a looker. I personally didn’t like it at all and I am a sucker for pixel art games. Something feels off, maybe the lack of detail or colors or contrast, but it doesn’t look good. I played it on a 4K TV on a PS4 Pro, overkill I know, but maybe that’s why it didn’t look as the assets might not be designed to be experienced on that resolution. The 4:3 aspect ratio didn’t help either as I had these massive black borders on the sides. There’s also no ambient music which is really strange for pixel art games as the music in these games usually slaps. But not here, it’s complete silence in Jump King and maybe that was done deliberately so you just hear the jump and faceplant sound effects. I don’t know, it feels like a weird choice.
Now the most important part of this review, is Jump King worth it? I don’t really know. The game is hard by design, evil, and many people like these kinds of experiences. If you are one of these weird people, then this is definitely for you. Or if you hate someone in your life, gift them this game and watch them suffer. Thanks for reading!