Familiar, but fun

Pocket Jump: Ooga God is a game with two feet firmly planted in the past. It’s the latest installment in the venerable Pocket God franchise: a mobile brand that once touted countless followers, cool toys, and even a few great comic books. Ooga Jump is also a vertical jumper whose mechanics bear an uncanny resemblance to Doodle Jump, one of the first real hits on the App Store dating back to 2009.

It’s a familiar brand exploring even more familiar gameplay. I just can’t figure out why.

Pocket God: Ooga Jump

That’s not to say that Ooga Jump isn’t a good time. If anything, it serves as a pleasant reminder that Doodle Jump‘s mechanics are still crazy addictive in 2013. I’m just a little dumbfounded that this is the direction that developer Bolt Creative decided to go after retiring the main game in the series, Pocket God. It feels like a step backwards.

But hey – at least it’s fun.

Combining the simple yet familiar gameplay of Doodle Jump with the humor and visual styling of Pocket God is a recipe for quick bursts of fun. The cartoonishly gruesome deaths of the Pocket God series are back again, this time offering a different demise at the end of each game (related entirely to the way you sent your Pygmy to his grave). Hit by a falling meteor? You’ll be burned to ash and blow away in the wind. Fly under a bird? You might just get coated in an unexpected splattering of poop that will send you careening to the ground. Or maybe you’ll just miss a platform and fall to your death, leaving a Pygmy shaped hole in the sand.

The various deaths are tied to the different obstacles that appear at random throughout the game. You might encounter a strong wind that requires you to tilt against it, or an army of flesh-eating ants that will need to be destroyed with a magnifying glass. Monkeys chase you, bubbles ensnare you – there’s a lot more going on here than just a few crumbling platforms and stationary enemies. It’s a fun design choice that helps elevate Ooga Jump over the formula of its inspiration.

The other new trick Ooga Jump has up its sleeve is the ability to do a butt bounce by tapping the screen. This will send your Pygmy bouncing higher and faster, but can lead to a quick death if you’re constantly tapping and not paying enough attention to where the next platform is.

Pocket God: Ooga Jump has plenty of charm, colorful visuals, and a few great twists. To say it’s one of the best Doodle Jump inspired titles out there wouldn’t be a stretch – but would you expect anything less in 2013?

If you’re a fan of the Pocket God franchise or Doodle Jump-style games, you’re going to have a good time here. If you’re burned out on either, though, Ooga Jump isn’t going to do a lot to change your mind.