Kriss Kross will make ya
When you see Jumpster in action, know this: I lived it. Not that I’m an alien named Jumpster, not that I’ve ever crash landed on the planet Okadia after my space-ship was hit by a meteorite after cruising through the galaxy, and not that I subsequently needed to recover lost fuel in order to get home.
None of that dear readers, not at all. But after playing through Jumpster’s semi-psychadelic levels, which are full of hills with eyes, floating platforms with huge teeth and every colour in the spectrum turned up to 11, it took me back to that night outside the local pub where my best friend convinced me to have a drag on his ‘Special Cigarette’. Let me tell you, what I saw could’ve been a videogame all of it’s own.
Jumpster is a physics platformer from G5 Games. You know the plot – I’ve just explained it. You control your little alien by shooting him around the level: pull pack, set your angle and launch. The object is to collect UFO fuel, avoid the various traps and make your way back to your spacecraft. Like you would on a typical Friday night.
The ‘Launching-Character-By-Setting-Angle-With –Dotted-Line’ puzzler has been around for a while now, so this is nothing original (sorry, I couldn’t think of anything else to call it), but what catches the eye about Jumpster – or considering the crazy visuals - rips your eye out of your head about Jumpster, is the superb presentation.
Those levels. Some designer’s imagination was sure running wild; possibly a bottle of Johnny Walker as well, but they’re clean, sharp, mad colourful and full of personality. Jumpster himself has some cute notes of animation, and the way the perspective zooms out when you’re about to launch him is a simple, but cool-looking effect. Even the menu screens are slick; choosing different outfits for Jumpster to wear is actually quite interesting as you swipe the carousel to land different items like shades and moustaches on him.
Gameplay is enjoyable, and satisfying when you suss out a level’s traps and quirks such as avoiding the multitude of sharp teeth sticking out of the land, teleporting, hitting switches and later on, funky-looking enemies. There are four planet-levels with 60 stages each. Do the math. That’s 240 levels of weed-smoking reminiscence.
So far this should add up to a pretty decent title, and it would if it wasn’t for the game’s insistence in pushing IAP at you, and how it pulls the rug from under your feet round about level 4. Jumpster complains about being ‘Wiped’, and suggests you buy him some sweets to give him energy or wait a few hours to revive him. Yeah, that’s right. HOURS.
You serious? In a few hours I’ll have forgotten about Jumpster and be back playing FIFA 13. It’s one thing making someone wait if they’re playing a sprawling RPG with 427 stages for their character to level-up to, but for a casual puzzler, it’s asking a bit much.
So it’s back to levels two and three and one and two and three and one and two until you’ve earned enough coins to buy some sweets without having to unzip your wallet. You thought I was going to say unzip something else there didn’t you? Saucy lad.
Jumpster has a lot going for it. But constant IAP reminders and a sneaky time-lock such a short time into the game promote more frustration than enjoyment, which results in a massive shame.
And if you’re wondering by the way, I haven’t smoked weed since.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevThePen. Say no to drugs.