Thank you sir! May I have another?
Crazy Jump, the new puzzle/runner by iMagic, feels like a sadistic ploy by some mad Tron fetishist to harvest the tears of gamers with poor reaction time. That said, its inherent addictiveness kept me coming back for more.
Crazy Jump is all about timing. A series of diabolically placed obstacles that resemble twisted Tetris blocks stand in the way of a tiny cube that zooms across the screen at a break neck pace. Your task is to press jump at the appropriate time to hurdle over these barricades and get your kinetic little brick from point A to B, while occasionally running into stars and smaller blocks along the way that can either shrink an oncoming obstruction, or make it rise to an insurmountable height. Clearing one bite-sized level quickly cues the next.
Sounds easy, but it isn’t. Not in the slightest. Your jumps often require pixel-perfect precision and stellar reflexes. Crazy Jump has three tiers of difficulty with around 50 levels in each, but even Easy mode is pretty damn challenging towards the end. Hard mode is the stuff of masochists. The developers have done a pretty good job with frustration management, though. When you shatter your cube against the technicolor walls, you instantly receive another chance, and you can pause the game at any time if you need a moment to study the board.
Pausing the game does occasionally bring up in-game advertisements, but these can be X’d out for a clear view of the level. Also as you play, the game throws encouraging messages your way, that are digitally scrawled into the board like something from an old Jeff Minter game. It’s a nice sentiment, really. You’re scored by the number of “lives” it takes you to clear a particular difficulty setting – the lower the better, of course.
Graphically speaking, Crazy Jump resembles something that would have seen release during the era of the Atari 2600. Solid blocks of vivid color and contrasting hues are the prevailing themes here. Everything is clean and simple, and it all looks great if you haven’t yet grown tired of the retro movement. The music is a nice hypnotic piece of chip tune techno, and it actually helps in putting the player into that golden zone where instinct takes complete control. If an electrocardiogram tracing could have a soundtrack, it would sound something like this.
Yeah, Crazy Jump is hard. There’s no getting around that fact, and if you’ve got a fragile ego it’s going to take a paddling. But the game’s quick pace and addictive gameplay do compel in that “just one more round” kind of way. If you’re searching for a litmus test of your reflexes and timing, this game should definitely be on your radar. And if you can make your way through Hard mode using single digit lives, be proud of yourself – you’re in a rather small fraternity here.