Jumping Joe & Friends

Played on: Nintendo Switch, via eshop

A cheery, mindless game that reduces platforming to its absolute minimum.


Jumping Joe and Friends is in the Platformer category on the eshop but, really, that should be in the absolute loosest sense possible. It’s the kind of game that reminds me most of a cheap mobile game, although this is an original release. It's an ‘endless’ climber with just two controls: left or right.


It’s practically a turn-by-turn game, although enemies and rising lava will kill you if your timing’s off or if you dawdle. Each turn you simply choose whether to jump up to your left or to your right. One of these will often kill you, whether there’s no platform to support you or spikes on the platform.


The first few hundred points are very easy, then things start to get more difficult. I couldn’t work out quite what made it that much more difficult, so it might’ve just been the limit of my attention span. Like all games of this ilk, the challenge is to get a high score, but it often turns out to be a battle of wills to just keep plugging away.


There’s a bunch of bonus items — extra coins, ‘health’, a rocket to give you a boost — which try to keep things entertaining, but this really isn’t one to enthrall the gamer. Graphically and musically it’s bearable. In gameplay terms, it’s a bit of a struggle.