Monday, May 28

Review: Jumping Joe & Friends [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While the Switch has turned out to be a system far better suited to full and intense gaming experiences than many assumed its portability can still make it a terrific option for lighter fare as well. Mobile ports do tend to take a bit of a beating in terms of opinions but ones that are at least executed pretty well and engaging can still give them some merit for quick on-the-go gaming. An example of this is Jumping Joe & Friends, a title that has come over from the mobile space but that can be good for some quick play, but that has also added on a simple multiplayer mode to help it be competitive as well.

The object in the game is pretty simple, you just want to jump right or left to go up platforms, slowly taking you higher and into more challenging zones. If there’s nothing to that side or you’re trying to make a lateral jump to a platform on the same level you’ll fall and the game is over. As you make your way up you’ll want to be on the lookout for gems, gem bags (which temporarily put gems on all platforms you see), and a handful of power-up crates. By far the one you’ll likely want to be on the lookout for is the rocket power-up which will boost you further into the level. In order to make it a bit more complicated as you get to new zones (every 100 platforms) you’ll have new threats to deal with. There can be spikes, bats, crushing walls… you’ll need to begin to more carefully try to plan your route and use some patience as you’ll often need to pause and get your window of timing correct to make it through unscathed. Of course you’re never able to pause for long as there is lava that will start to catch up to you quickly if you take too long so constant upward movement is a priority.

Each game will award you gems that you can then use to unlock new characters, upgrade characters, or even unlock new modes. Of course if you’re fast and adventurous enough the better way to unlock the new modes is to complete the specified objectives for each but for one you’ll need to get to the 300 marker within 60 seconds (I suggest going with the bird and upgrading his rocket boosts, which helps a great deal) and then the 600 marker for the other, which is no small feat. You’ll be able to play against up to 3 friends as well if you’d like, seeing who can get up the quickest, though keep in mind that with the relatively simplistic nature of the gameplay this probably won’t be very diverting for long.

All in all this isn’t a bad game to play for a little while but it also does little to distract you from its overall bare bones simplicity which would feel more at home on a mobile phone than on a Switch. I suppose for quick and easy family fun for all ages the very simple nature of the game would make it well matched for multiplayer fun with younger players, but even for less experienced players it’s hard not to see how the thin veneer of excitement would eventually wear through to seeing the very repetitive nature of the experience for what it is. As long as you’re going in with your eyes open, and aware of the extent of what it is bringing to the table, it’s not a bad way to kill some time.

Score: 6

  • Very easy to pick up and put back down on the go
  • Controls that anyone should be able to pick up pretty quickly
  • Mutliplayer mode, though not deep, can be fun for people roughly on the same level

  • Overall there’s not much depth to it
  • Aside from split-screen multiplayer there’s no need to be playing this on the Switch
  • Even with a budget price it feels a bit expensive when the core game is cheaper elsewhere