Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Super One More Jump (Switch) [Review]

Product provided by developer - Opinions are my own.
Super One More Jump may look like another Meat Boy-inspired platformer, but it doesn't really play like one. This game is actually an auto-run platformer which uses single button controls to make your character jump as he/she/it hurtles ever onward across, around, and beneath obstacle courses of platforms and hazards.
The complexity of being able to change your speed and direct your jumps that is present in most other platformers is nowhere to be found here, meaning that the gameplay is quite simplistic. On the other hand, this lack of mobility also adds to the difficulty since you're given no time to stop and think, and no way to correct mistimed jumps in midair. You can't even change your jump height by holding the jump button for different amounts of time. As such, Super One More Jump's gameplay is fully committed to a design where timing is everything. What appears to be a platformer to an onlooker is, in practice, actually comparable to a single-button rhythm game - except instead of tapping to music, you're tapping to visual cues. And really, most of the obstacles and platforms are just visual cues. With the single button controls, most levels could just as easily be laid out flat without functionally affecting the gameplay, but it's the twisty, bouncy orientations of the platforms that make the relatively simple platforming more challenging, and entertaining, to decipher on the fly. Because of this, even though you may as well be running and jumping on a flat autoscrolling platformer in most cases, it looks and feels as though you're doing something much more complex and impressive.
(Click to enlarge)
Super One More Jump features over 140 levels of increasing difficulty, as well as several modes. Each of the levels in the main set contains three optional collectibles for an extra challenge, which can be used to unlock character sprites for each of the ten pixel art graphic themes that can be changed at any time. When a level has been cleared with all three collectibles, three additional modes are unlocked for that level. Unfortunately, none of these modes (Mirror, Night, and Rotation) really affect the gameplay much at all. Mirror just flips the level, which changes nothing, Rotation constantly spins the camera as a distraction, and Night limits visibility. You can try to clear every level in every mode, but that really just feels like playing the same level four times. It's worth mentioning that there is also a practice mode, which will let you slow down movement and try out levels without adding to your death counter.
Circuit mode. It's like Endless, but in a box.
Additional modes include Endless and Circuit, which are both semi-randomly generated endless running modes that track your high score. Endless plays like an infinite level from the main game, while Circuit is contained inside a box which swaps out walls as you go around the inside edge for as long as you can. There's also "Vault" mode, which seems to just be an additional set of levels without the collectibles, as well as a mysterious unlockable post-game skull mode.
2P Endless Mode
Lastly, there are the multiplayer options: 2P Endless and 2-4P Co-op. 2P Endless mode splits the screen horizontally and pits two players against each other to survive as long as possible in an endlessly randomized platforming course. The co-op mode is arguably the most interesting mode of the bunch, and it's a shame that it's limited to multiplayer as it would work quite well on a single controller as well. In this mode, there's only one character running through individual levels, but each surface is color-coded for a particular player. The character will only jump when the correct player pushes the jump button - for example, if you're on a green platform, only Player 2 can jump. The streak of successful jumps is tracked across levels, and any death or jump from the wrong player will break the streak. This is a good mode for blaming your failures on your friends.
"Night" mode
The Final Word
You have to go into Super One More Jump knowing what you're getting: a challenging, single-button, auto-run platformer. While mechanically simple, the timing-based gameplay forces you to react quickly and precisely without the crutches of slowing down to think, or adjusting a jump. Though much of the twisty level design is merely for show, the "show" does add to the difficulty by making you think harder to understand upcoming obstacles, and creates a satisfying spectacle when you do successfully complete a run. The multiplayer offerings aren't half bad either, and it's accessible for one-handed players as a nice bonus. Hardcore platforming game players might be disappointed by the lack of complexity in the gameplay, but I think there's still enough challenge, style, and content to satisfy most.
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