The Digest: Almost everyone has played a platformer in the lives, but very few have played a bouncing one. DeRail Games brings us a brand new spin on “retro-platformer” by adding one thing: bouncing. This unique and simple twist combined with a large variety of challenging, but fun, maps will keep you hooked until you’ve beaten your high score five times.
THE FACT SHEET
RELEASE DATE: August 25, 2010
DEVELOPER: DeRail Games
PRICE: 80 MS Points
Test your skill and learn to master the brain-racking world of spikes and sawblades in 50 levels of pure splatmania, including 10 additional hardcore “Director’s Cut” maps inspired by old arcade games from the 80s and modern platform games of today. Jump’n Bounce is a 1.00 dollar old-school platform game with modern-day gameplay featuring a bouncing emoticon with hardcore abilities.
- 50 playable maps including 10 challenging and exciting Director’s Mode levels
- Bouncing Protagonist
- Unique and interesting map layouts
- Retro style music and gameplay
Right from the beginning of the game, it feels as if you’ve played this game 20 or 30 years ago. DeRail Games has done an excellent job with bringing the arcade-like theme of early 90’s and late 80’s gaming. However, the biggest difference between a traditional puzzle platformer and Jump’n Bounce is that… well… your character bounces. Unlike Mario who can jump at will, Hug the Bouncing Emoticon is a ball and constantly bounces. He also has the ability to double jump once in the air by pressing A while mid-air, and can jump early at will by pressing B.
Having to guide Hug through endless mazes of death spikes and death balls while he consistently jumps the same height as (and sometimes into the path of) the moving death balls is still one of the biggest adaptations I need to make while playing. Literally speaking, if you can master the bounce you’ll have a great advantage as tucked away in every level are power ups which increase your score and extra lives. They’re almost always protected with enough death spikes and balls where you need to time your bouncing right to get past them.
There are a total of 50 maps available, with 10 unlockable through the Director’s Cut mode which is obtainable once you beat the first 40. Each map has a unique layout and the method to get to the goodies in each level changes with each map. If the level is long or challenging enough, checkpoints will be scattered throughout the map which helps greatly when the biggest challenge is overcoming the moving death sphere right next to the map start.
Certain blocks are destructible by bouncing down manually on them, and usually the open up a new passage or a power up. There are even some levels where all the platforms over a giant spike pit are invisible, and the only point of reference is a map of the level above. The Director’s Cut levels add a new meaning to challenge, as from there on out the difficulty curve shoots up. Generally speaking Jump’n Bounce has a high initial learning curve which eases down for the first few levels but then starts rising as you get in the later ones.
Being a platformer, the game judges you based on time and score. The amount of powerups and extra lives carries throughout each level only for one sitting or until you die. If you exit, your live count is set back to the default 5 and your score is set to 0. Once you’ve run out of lives, the game asks you to input your name which is then placed on a leaderboard- just like old times. Since saving wipes out your accumulated score but lets you play on the level you quit on, players can’t slowly inch towards a 1,000,000 score and then reload a save when they die.
That being said, Jump’n Bounce isn’t without its downsides as minor as they may be. There isn’t an option to choose a specific level from the main menu, meaning if you wanted to show your friend the really cool layout of Level 32 you’d have to start a new game or continue (depending on which one is closer) and get to Level 32 manually. It also only allows for one save file per storage device, something that can be disastrous as the main menu controls are slippery, the continue and main menu options are next to each other, there’s no confirmation screen to start a new game, and it automatically saves at the beginning of the level… This major glitch be the difference between starting a continue at Level 39 or Level 1.
Another small complaint is that there isn’t any local multiplayer. N+ is a similar platforming game which can have up to 4 players playing together at one time. With as many level variations and challenges that Jump’n Bounce has, it would’ve been nice to have been able to play them with friends.
Conclusion: Overall, Jump’n Bounce creates a unique retro-platforming experience. The addition of bouncing creates another layer of challenge in completing levels and the introduction of new and unique maps keeps the gameplay interesting. With a price tag of only 80 Microsoft Points, the amount of gameplay and replay value you get for only $1 makes Jump’n Bonce one of the best Indie Games this reviewer has ever played.
|- Unique bouncing feature
– Challenging and interesting levels
– Excellent replay value
|- No level select option
– No Multiplayer
– Only one save file per storage device
Single Player: 5/5 | Multi-Player: N/A
Special thanks to DeRail Games for providing us with a copy of the game for review.