Jumping Flash was a bit of a white elephant among the PlayStation's clutch of launch titles. It's not that it wasn't a fun and well polished game but rather that it was… well, it was just so damn quirky.
As twee as any video game could get away with being (though more modern examples like Katamari Damacy and LocoRoco have since trumped it), in fact, and, strangest of all, it merged two genres successfully that had scarcely been proven in their own right on Sony's brave new hardware.
In all fairness, it had no business working as well as it did.
As such, despite generally favourable reviews, Jumping Flash's joys were had by few of the PlayStation's early adopters hungry for racers, shooters and beat-'em-ups. So assuming it has aged gracefully, its addition to the PSP Store presents a welcome opportunity for many to see what they missed back in 1995.
But what's it about? Well, an evil and demented astrophysicist (isn't that always the way?) called Baron Aloha has removed great hunks of planet Earth with his enormous land-lifting machines to turn into his own private holiday resorts. Aloha has hidden the Jet Pods that propel each world and as Earth's last defence, which just so happens to be a giant robotic bunny called Robbit, it's your job to retrieve the Jet Pods and thwart Aloha's diabolical scheme.
The game is chiefly of the platforming variety but the twist is that it is played out entirely from a first-person – or rather, a first-roborabbit – perspective. Beyond the progressiveness of such blatant genre bending antics, Jumping Flash impresses particularly in that, even by today's standards, the complex 3D space you exist in truly is three-dimensional. Levels require you to travel upwards as much as they do forwards, backwards, left and right.
You can jump a total of three times per leap in order to give yourself extra height or distance when launching yourself at any of the precariously placed platforms, many of which move, rotate and generally do their best to stay beyond your reach. It's a succinct system and like any good platformer you spend most of your time in the air, worrying about the split-second judgement you will have to make when you land.
And like any platform game, Jumping Flash has enemies that need to be dispatched, though you'd be forgiven for thinking that the harmless looking menagerie that make up Aloha's evil forces are a benevolent part of the scene at times. Even so, many of them are dangerous and so Robbit is equipped with a rudimentary blaster, as well as three slots for special weapons (which are really best saved for the boss battles). Of course, in the time honored platforming tradition, Robbit can also kill enemies by jumping on their heads – he is, after all, a rabbit.
And what a charming long-eared metal critter he is. You really feel like you are inside this odd animechanical contraption as the off-beat HUD frames the onscreen action while your shadow and oversized feet rhythmically creep into view between gravity-defying bounds.
It's all jolly enjoyable stuff, and despite the now noticeably aged visuals, Jumping Flash lays claim to a brand of fun that has yet to be re-plundered in gaming's oft-depleted ideas barrel.
Some might find it a bit too easy, and lament the fact the core formula isn't very varied across the 18 levels on offer (though the boss levels do help to break things up somewhat). But really, £3.50 is little to ask for one of the PlayStation's most enigmatic curiosities, especially when it is as polished and fully realized as this.