Jump/Boxer is a retro styled 2D action platformer that has you playing Dag, a martial artist who is also a master at the urban martial-art of parkour. The goal of the game is to get though the city but that's not going to be easy as there are dastardly traps and other martial art masters getting in your way. You will also have to do a lot of climbing and getting past some tricky platforms, thank goodness that Dag is both a martial artist and a master at parkour, otherwise any other normal person would be doomed as they'd be beaten up and thrown off the buildings (ouch). But enough with the padding and onto the part where I tell you if the game is good or not. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).
The story in this game is really left up to your imagination and I'm not to fond of that, this is the kind of game that would benefit more with a story attached to it as it'd be nice to know what is going on. I do really enjoy the setting of this game though, it feels like something straight out of an action packed American martial-arts movie from the 1980s/1990s. The look of the game has a cinematic look to it as well, you'll see that each section of the game will have different style of screen cropping. The screen cropping is better than what it sounds like as it adds some style to the game and comes off as very charming. What to expect with the stylish cropping is that some screens are in wide screen, some will be in full screen, and some are just long thin vertical boxes.
The platforming in this game has a Prince of Persia (1989) approach to it as you'll be running, jumping, and climbing ledges. This game also throws in some nice new flavors to that old style as you can also bounce off of walls and even jump up walls to a certain extent. I liked the platforming in this game as it was fun and the parkour element really does hook you into the game due to how fun it is.
The gameplay in this game can also be frustrating if you are trying to rush through the game as the movement is rough and sluggish. In order to really enjoy the controls, you will need to treat the controls as a martial art in itself and you'll need to play this game in a very calm focused manor, once you've done that you'll notice the controls will be much smoother and easy to work with. I find that concept very amusing as (to repeat myself) it treats the controls as a martial-art on it's own and the best way to use martial-arts is to be fluid like water.
Other than running, jumping, and climbing, you do also get to combat with other martial artists. The way you fight in this game is quite similar to the old game, Karateka (1984) (great, great, greeeeaaattt game) as you'll need to wait until you see an opening on your opponent and then strike them with a blow. You do get several attacks such as a roundhouse kick, low sweep, high punch, and medium punch. One thing I like about the opponents is that there are several kinds of them and they all have their own unique styles of fighting and their own unique weaknesses. All of the enemies are in pre-set locations, so you won't get into random fights at any inconvenient time. Once you've reach the end of a level, you will have to fight a boss and they are way more powerful than fighting the typical goons and foot soldiers.
The combat system in this game has a much rougher edge to it than the movement and platforming and will only be liked by people that grew up with games like Karateka. Even then, I found myself button mashing the moves instead of finding the weaknesses of the other fighters and it works for a good majority of the time. The boss battles actually do require a strategy for if you want to beat the stuffing out of them and I did enjoy fighting the bosses but as for battling the typical goon, I found that to be the weakest part of the game.
The difficulty in this game is very challenging and can be a struggle to get through as you will die a lot and lose your cool in the process. The experience will not only leave you yelling at the screen, you'll also get tense and it'll really make the game a rougher experience to play. This game is quite short as it is only five levels long but due the difficulty of this game, you'll be playing this game for quite some time until you know each level like the back of your hand. Just to give you an idea, if you are playing this for the first time and are trying to power though it, you will be playing this game for two hours (yikes). When you gain some skill at this game, you will be playing this game for about forty-five minutes although that will require some practice to become that good at the game.
The controls are very simple, you'll use the arrow keys to move around, the Z key to jump, Z + left or right directional key to perform a wall jump, holding up + Z while grabbing onto the wall will make you jump up the wall a little bit, holding up while grabbed onto a ledge will make you climb up it, and holding down while grabbing a ledge will make you drop. The controls for combat are just as simple as the X is to attack, X + direction keys will do different moves, and holding down shift will make you use block. The controls were very easy to learn and very easy to remember but they can be difficult to master. Mastering the controls is a very satisfying feeling and will make you feel like an action hero fighter in the process. This game is also very friendly towards Xbox 360 controllers for those who don't want to play this game with the keys.
Graphics for this game uses an 8-bit style like that seen on the Nintendo Entertainment System and they do look very good. I liked the deigns for the levels in both looks and layout as the city theme was fun to look at and I did enjoy the graffiti on the walls as they were full of randomness and even helpful information. The level designs in terms of layout are very good, the levels were fun but tricky to get though and they did capture a very good atmosphere. The levels will also make you nostalgic as they will remind you of old adventure platformers like the original Prince of Persia and Karateka and it's been awhile since I've played a game that has given me a feeling like that. The design for Dag looks like the Fonzie from Happy Days and I wasn't very impressed with it as it looked too daggy (hello my friend, Irony).
The designs for the enemies did clash as they were all from a mixed selection of gangs and so you'll see Japanese, Chinese, and Hong Kong gangsters working together, I can't tell if I am fighting the Yakuza or the Triad. It'd be nice if there were some story to explain why I'm fighting all these people but my imagination has already gone crazy about why all of these dangerous gangs have joined forces. My theory to why all of the gangs have decided to join forces is that they figured that their power is better used in unity, so they joined up so they can conquer the world together. Our hero, Dag (played by Kurt Russell), was just minding his own business in Chinatown until he heard some gang members blabbing on about how they are going to take over the world. Dag doesn't like this, so he beats them up, asks where their leaders are, and goes off to beat them all up. That's just my speculation and a very childish one at that... But who cares.
Animation in this game looks like that from a good NES game as well and it was well animated and very consistent. The music in this game is very repetitive but far from being annoying and it suits the game very well and was enjoyable. The look and sounds of this game as a whole does make this game seem like that it will work as an official NES game and I'd actually want to see this game played on actual NES hardware... Or at least an NES rom (legal rom that is) that I can put on a flash cartridge or something along those lines.
Overall, this game was very well done and was a fun and interesting experience. This game is very easy for me to recommend and not only will you enjoy it, the game is also very dirt cheap as well and you'll defiantly get your bang for your buck with this one. 8-bits of martial-art parkour fun.
Developer/Publisher: Blaze Epic
Genre: Action, Platformer
Price: $0.99 (Steam)