These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.
One thing you should know before you start playing Mr. Jump, a minimalist one-touch platformer game by 1Button: Expect to jump a great deal, and then die. On one level, I had 108 attempts before finally succeeding. And you know what? I was proud that I finally beat that level. It's probably one of my singular most impressive gaming feats--it's right up there with beating some of the old Mega Man games and unlocking 007 mode in Goldeneye. That's the kind of brutal difficulty you have in store for you with Mr. Jump. Read on for three more reasons why this intense game is worth a play or two... or ten... or 108.
The difficulty level is ludicrous: iOS has seen its fair share of super hard games, usually of the "endless platformer" variety--think Flappy Bird and Robot Unicorn Attack. But what separates Mr. Jump from the pack is that it's not an endless platformer--victory is possible, just very unlikely. Each of the twelve levels (don't worry, more levels are on their way) features pits, pixel-wide platforms to land on, and other obstacles, and each level introduces a new game mechanic or obstacle to watch out for, too.
While levels will take you less than a minute to run through--without a save/checkpoint system--you'll likely find yourself trying to make the same jump hours later. Maybe I've lost a step or two in my old age, but some of these levels took me near an hour to beat. So in terms of difficulty, the best comparisons actually are PC titles Super Meat Boy and I Wanna Be the Guy. That's exalted company.
It invokes an old-school feel: My responses to playing Mr. Jump actually remind me of how I felt while playing older Nintendo titles--I feel tense and scared, hopping from platform to platform, hoping my little sprite doesn't take one more speck of damage. When I finally make it past a spot where I always die in Mr. Jump--it's like watching a no-no in baseball or waiting to hear a courtroom verdict--I hold my breath.
The player's investment in Mr. Jump's world is an accomplishment, too, because the game is not particularly pretty. Your titular Mr. Jump is just a series of pixels, and the worlds around you only vaguely resemble forests, lava pits, etc. The soundtrack is also a toned-down (but catchy) set of chiptune beats.
It is minimalist by choice: But this minimalism plays to the game's advantage. Your only goal is to get to the end of the level. Mr. Jump moves for you, and all you have control over is when and how high he jumps--determined by how firmly you tap on your iPhone's screen.
When you die, it just tells you your progress and asks if you want to go again. There's no story, and the in-game ads only appear on the game-over screen: Essentially, the developers have made the conscious decision to make the player's singular focus to be on the jumping mechanic. Time your jumps and negotiate Mr. Jump's world--that's all there is to it. The controls, thankfully, have been very responsive in my experience. And because of the "percentage complete" displayed every time you die, you have an incentive to complete the level. The game is almost daring you: "I'm so simple, how hard can I be to beat?" The answer: Very hard.
Flappy Bird fans, platformer lovers, and masochists alike will enjoy Mr. Jump. This free game is already shooting up the App Store charts and with good reason. Go see what all of the fuss is about.
Platform: iOS (Universal)