Back in 2015, developer 1 Button SARL—known more recently for tricky cat-bouncer Nekosan and clever rock-paper-scissors color puzzler Trilogic—released the extremely difficult auto-running platformer Mr. Jump. While it was easy to initially compare the game’s frustration-inducing level of challenge to Flappy Bird, it was also notably different thanks to finite levels that did not change with consecutive attempts. Every level had a beginning and an end, and the many pinpoint obstacles and platforms in between remained the same every time you played. Instead of simply being a high score chaser, Mr. Jump could be beat—if you could survive its 36 devastatingly deadly levels.
Turns out that very, very few people were able to accomplish this lofty goal: 1 Button shared this week that since Mr. Jump’s launch two years ago, only 0.003% of players (753 people total) have completed the game, while 77% of players never even made it to the second level. This means the majority of players never got to enjoy the many different environments, gameplay features, and even songs that appear in later stages. Each area introduced a new challenge and ability—such as double-jump power-ups required to traverse extra-large gaps or infinite jumps as long as you did not touch the (usually spike-covered) ground—that made the game both harder and more rewarding as you went along.
In an attempt to share these levels and features with more players, 1 Button has released a new version of Mr. Jump called Mr. Jump S. The gameplay is identical: you still guide the auto-running Mr. Jump across spike- and gap-filled stages via short and long leaps that need to be timed just right. But the levels themselves have been reworked to be much less difficult, both in terms of the gauntlet of hazards—there are a lot fewer rows of spikes—and how long it takes to complete them. In the original Mr. Jump, each stage had to be finished in a single attempt, with any death sending you back to the start. In Mr. Jump S, the same size of stages have been broken down into three separate levels, greatly reducing the time and frustration of having to restart.
To test the reduced difficulty, we fired up the original Mr. Jump from scratch and played until we’d died a total of 20 times. We made it to 82% in level two. We played Mr. Jump S until we died the same number of times and made it 45% through level six (which, in Mr. Jump S, is technically level 17). Granted, we are far from Mr. Jump experts, but Mr. Jump S is notably easier without being overly simplified. There are still tricky platforming sections and precise timing required, but it feels much more approachable and, eventually, conquerable. The added bonus is that Mr. Jump S acts as a sort of practice run for Mr. Jump: once you complete it, you’ll be familiar with the types of obstacles and abilities you’ll encounter in the original—if you want to try to become the 754th player to master it.