What looks at first glance to be a throwaway title – Jumpy – actually says a great deal about the game it represents.
It tells you that OrangePixel’s latest is primarily concerned with jumping. The brevity of the title points to its simple, no-nonsense gameplay. It also hints at the game’s frivolity.
Unfortunately, there’s also the second meaning of the word – twitchiness – which also applies.
Jumpy on the bandwagon
The developer has been very open about the game’s status as a “tribute to the classic 80's [sic] run and jump game genre.” It’s not wrong.
Your cute, fluffy little character could have been lifted from the 'How to design a platformer character' handbook (published 1990), such is its calculatedly cute yet animation-efficient nature.
His (its?) activities are equally familiar. The rings you collect as you dash from left to right could have been lifted straight from any of the 2D (or 'good') Sonic games, while the pink marshmallow-y baddies are pure Nintendo.
It’s classic platforming fare: running, jumping (both from platform to platform and onto enemy heads), and collecting knick-knacks.Acting a little jumpy
Jumpy also owes a debt to the perpetual-running games that have appeared on smartphones in recent times. You may have three lives, and there may be a loose level structure, but it’s all about picking up as big a score (courtesy of OpenFeint) as possible in its randomised levels before you snuff it.
Unfortunately, this hybridisation effort falls down slightly when it comes to the controls. OrangePixel has placed movement control onto the accelerometer, which is fine when you’re dashing along without a care in the world, but not so good when you need to apply the brakes for a little precision.
It’s too easy to steer back the other way when attempting to correct yourself during a jump onto a narrow platform. Lining up an aggressive jump onto an enemy’s head is also tricky for the same reason, especially with some unforgiving collision detection.
Ultimately, you’ll want to run through the levels speedily rather than stopping to smell the 8-bit roses, which seems to miss the point of the game somewhat. Jumpy is a bright and attractive platformer, but it finds itself falling between the two stools of classic platforming and a more focused modern approach.