Jump King Switch review
Source: PR

Played by a few high profile YouTubers, Jump King has piqued my interest: is it really that hard? Only one way to find out.

Never have I played a game where I’ve repeatedly said “This game sucks”, with a smile on my face – often followed by a war cry or two. Jump King proves that some of the simplest of concepts prove to be the most tenacious as all this knight does is jump. As opposed to Vulgar Knight, who just types.

Here’s a tutorial: move left or right with either the stick or d-pad, then press A to jump. You can hold the jump button for a higher jump or lightly tap it to do a sort of skip across small gaps, but keeping the button pressed will eventually launch your knight automatically. There’s a biting point, don’t you know.

Hey, DJ, set up some beats for this…

Jump King Switch Review

From the outset, you know what you’re in for as it took about 15 minutes to progress to the third screen in the game. Jump Knight is designed like an endless vertical tower as the goal is to go up, but in the application, you’ll often fall down – and this is one of the greatest challenges as you can potentially fall to your starting point with one miscalculation. 

Jump King is a training programme for bomb disposal units: it teaches patience, precision, and how to clench so hard, you could snap diamond chopsticks between your arsecheeks.

Jump King
Green is supposed to be calming… Source: PR

Best of all, the developers Nexile, are acutely aware how tough the game is, so throw in a bit of humour to diffuse any violence towards your controller or to sway you from rage quitting:

“It’s just a game.”

Is what you tell yourself and as does the old man who loiters outside your tent. Why he’s hanging around outside your tent, nobody really knows. He might be on a list for all we know. Still, it’s this wise old fella that advises of the ‘smoking hot babe’ that you’re rewarded with if you reach the top. That is, of course, if he/she will have you, and the premise is bound to get a few tweets here and there.

But, in all reality, this may be a McGuffin. There’s no babe at the top, but some sick joke on the player. I say this as I haven’t reached the top, but I’m hopeful I will. On this basis, I refuse to watch any playthroughs because:

  • a) I don’t want to ruin the end (in case I ever reach there).
  • b) I don’t want some sweaty streamer to show me how easy it is to ascend this madness without falling once. That will make me mad.

Instead, I continue to plough through, but there’s no save point so kinda screwed if there’s a power cut and I have 1% charge on my Switch’s battery, or if the house is on fire. Jump King doesn’t care. Jump King wants you to suffer.

Jump King - Squat
Diddly squat. Source: PR

Quitting’s For Quitters

When first playing the game, I put the ‘premiere’ in front of my daughter as she knew about it through a friend of hers named Pewdiepie. Kids today have some unusual names.

She thought it would be fun to watch my reaction and expected me to launch whatever was in reach and that I’d start swearing at the dog. Imagine her surprise when each time I fell, I’d laugh, dust myself off and try again. There’s something really satisfying about the game – even when you don’t progress.

There are no health items (you can’t die – only in real life when you headbutt the wall), no weapons, no flying carpets, chequered flags, zombies or Pokémon. All there is, is jumping and an elusive smoking hot babe, somewhere I will perhaps never experience.

Cut to my daughter who’s desperate for a go seeing as her old man managed to get pretty far and made it look easy; cue the launching of furniture, swearing at the dog and rage quitting. Ok, she didn’t launch anything, doesn’t swear (she’s pure), but she did rage quit after five minutes and declared she hated the game. On that note, I picked it up once more with a smirk, and within a few minutes was belting out my new found mantra:

It doesn’t though; it’s just so bloody hard. You think you’ve perfected the jump but bounce into the platform you’re aiming for, then fall down a few screens. Another thing worth mentioning – which I realise now that I haven’t touched upon; you have to move and jump. That is, you can’t adjust your jump mid-air. You can forget about falling with style, or fine-tuning a leap if you overestimated. Another ‘charm’ of the game, but, it’s all fair game as Jump King doesn’t trick you with cheap shots – it’s all on you.

Jump King - Too much
Too much? Source: PR

Reviewing a game where you’re not entirely sure if you’re good at it or not, as I’m not sure if many people have finished it, is almost as challenging as the game. Am I near completing it? Who knows, but the fact that I haven’t given up hope is a good sign – not to my tenacity, but the fundamentals of the game – simple works. My wife married me, so I must be doing something right.

Just don’t expect a game full of features, in-depth character arcs or unlockables (ignoring the various hats you can pick up along the way) – it’s all about the game, as it should be.

Jump King Switch Review
8 / 10 Verdict
Pros
  • Simple controls - jump, move left and right.
  • Knows it's evil and funny about it.
  • You can't die (in the game).
Cons
  • Just jumping and falling.
  • Ridiculously hard and unforgiving.
  • Likely to bring out that inner temper.
One for masochists, speedrunners who feel invincible and people who have a lot of patience. Jump King is 100% an indie title, but despite the simple concept, it's far from a novelty and will provide hours of fun/misery.
Rating

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  1. […] the screen or to reach a higher level. Everyone knows knights can’t jump (except for Jump King and Sir Woody […]

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