When looking for an app to review this week, I figured I’d go directly to the source – the App Store – to what the editor was recommending. What came up was a rather simplistic looking game called Mr Jump. All I could see was a sort of stick figure with squares for hands and a big square where his head should be. This reminded me of my extraordinary artistic creations when I was in school.
Without reading much about the app, I decided to download it. First of all, it was an Editor’s Choice, featured in the bar along the top of the App Store, so that was a good start; and secondly, it was free to get. The combination of the two positives made it quite appealing to me. Beyond that, I couldn’t easily find anything else to review.
What wonders did Mr Jump have in store for me? I couldn’t wait to find out.
How it works
Unlike loads of other games that require instruction, tutorials and have lots of rules, Mr Jump drops you in with only two pieces of information: tapping your character makes him jump, and tapping and holding makes him jump further. That’s it.
Don’t bother looking elsewhere on the screen for icons to take you to, surely, more in-depth moves. He simply jumps, or jumps further.
You may think at this point “This is the first time I’ve felt cheated over an app that’s free.” That’s because you haven’t started yet.
There he is, standing in a landscape of what appears to be grass, wee hills, mountains and water. The minute you tap to play, he’s off to the races, at breakneck speed. Immediately faced with a wee hill, you should tap him once so he can jump it, but don’t be surprised if his sheer speed throws you into a panic, and he’s suddenly bashing into the obstacle.
Every time you kill him, or maim him (whatever it is you do to him when he hits something or falls), the app will bring up a percentage, showing you how far you got. It will also keep track of your number of attempts and jumps.
You’ll discover pretty quickly that if he can’t make it past that first hill, you’ll only achieve 3 percent.
It seems that the key is to not panic or get flustered. The more you scramble as he approaches obstacles, the more likely you are to bring him crashing down. This is a game well played when you’re in a Zen state of mind.
If at any point you want to get an idea of how your scores measure up against the rest of the world, simply tap on the hexagon in the bottom left corner of the screen. You’ll get your score, ranking, the ability to share this information through social media, a way to challenge friends, and finally, a listing of all those who are so much better than you at Mr Jump.
Once you get through the first level, you can start unlocking the next ones. It looks like the second level is in a leafy forest, but don’t hold me to that, as I haven’t managed to get that far.
The only in-app purchases for Mr Jump are keys to unlock levels ($0.99 each) and the ability to remove ads ($1.99), although I haven’t yet witnessed any of the latter.
If, like me, you initially get frustrated because you can’t seem to get past the first few hills, leave it and come back to it when you’re in a calmer mood. It’s amazing what a difference it will make. If, on the other hand, you find it a piece of cake from the beginning, I don’t wanna know.
When I played it
As you’ll gather from my comments above, I really had a tough time with this when I first played it. I could not seem to get Mr Jump any distance at all before he went careening into solid objects, or landing, rather painfully, on the peaks of multiple hills. I found myself panicking, like the fate of the world was at stake, and tapping when I should have waited, or waiting when I should have been tapping and holding. That 3 percent score became irritating after a while, but the more determined I became, the further my skills deteriorated.
I only got to about 20 percent when I gave up in disgust, and walked away from it for 24 hours.
The next morning, when I was still somewhat sleepy and calm, I gave it another try. I instantly doubled my percentage score. I sent Mr Jump sailing effortlessly over hills, ravines and water hazards. I was in the zone!
I made it to 49 percent before he came a cropper, and although that’s not an impressive score in the big scheme of things, I was grinning from ear to ear … until I looked at the leader board. Seems I ranked 3,135,871 in the world, and the top players boasted scores of 1,200 compared to my measly 49. I was going to have to take some Lamaze breathing classes to have any chance of beating them in the future.
This is one of those apps that seems so simple when first viewed, and it is a simple concept, but very well executed. You’ll find yourself drawn in, and even if you give up after a while, I guarantee you’ll be back for more. Mr Jump could become quite addictive, and at this price, it’s certainly worth a go.
Inexpensive. Very easy to grasp. Simple yet challenging.
Not for those with high blood pressure.
- Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
- Seller: 1Button SARL
- Devices: iOS and Android
- Rating: E for Everyone