Mr. Run and Jump [Switch] Review – Leap of Faith

Does this retro styled platformer offer old school thrills? Or does it combine the old and new to create something not quite as good as either?

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Mr. Run and Jump makes a great first impression. A throwback title from Atari, the first few minutes see you play a fake Atari 2600 game with visuals and gameplay so basic they’re almost hypnotic.

It’s hugely charming and kicks off the game’s very simple plot – a man’s dog keeps running through various dimensions and he’s chasing after it. That really all there is to it, but it’s all you need.

The visuals improve considerably after that opening of course, with bright neon being the name of the day. It’s hugely appealing at first glance, but sadly like the game as a whole it slowly outstays its welcome.

For you see, Mr. Run and Jump is hard. Incredibly hard. Based around indie platformers where death is merely a temporary inconvenience, levels consist of small individual sections – where dying in one throws you back mere seconds to try again.

To complete each section requires absolute precision jumping, and there’s a range of moves you can utilize to dodge the various obstacles and foes. These include straightforward rolls and wall jumps, to leaps that propel you horizontally – and these can be chained to get through tight gaps.

Initially this is fine, with levels starting off difficult but not impossible. There’s a pleasant range of obstacles and foes that are slowly introduced, with the latter having clear and understandable attack patterns. 

Sadly a few stages in each section – no matter how small – becomes teeth grindingly difficult. The game does accommodate this by offering invincibility stars you can use if you die repeatedly in a section – but this feels like a cheap cop out option to help you progress. Using this power up also means you won’t be able to play the later stages. 

We feel a middle ground regarding the difficulty could have been reached – a ground superior titles such as Celeste or VVVVVV manage to find. These games are also rock hard, but manage to add extra challenges to players who want them – not make them necessary to complete the adventure.

There’s also the bigger issue that there is a little too much going on with regards to the controls. The many moves are great for speedrunners, but we often felt overwhelmed when it came to the various button combinations we were required to use to progress. It lacks the elegant simplicity that you might expect from the game at first glance. 

For speedrunners on the more masochistic side there’s undoubtedly a lot to get your teeth into here though. For everyone else we’d recommend a more rewarding and streamlined hardcore 2D platformer.

The good

  • Initially impressive aesthetics
  • Fun for speedrunners

The bad

  • Too difficult
  • Controls feel fudged
60 out of 100
Simon has been playing portable games since his Game Boy Pocket and a very worn out copy of Donkey Kong Land 2, and he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. Playing Donkey Kong Land 2 that is. And games in general we suppose.