Jumpster, the first physics puzzler from the folks at G5 Entertainment, is now available from the app store. A departure from their usual hidden object adventures, Jumpster’s misnomer (Flingster might have been more appropriate) isn’t nearly as egregious a misstep as its overly aggressive IAP system.
- Colorful graphics and interesting puzzles
- Soundtrack is cheery and fun
- Controls are familiar and easy to use; aiming line allows for precise shots
- Achievements to earn
- Overly aggressive IAP system tries to sell you perks to the point of aggravation
- Rechargeable energy system creates a similarly annoying problem
- Costume purchases feel tacked on and unnecessary
Jumpster is an alien who springs a fuel leak when crash landing upon a strange planet. Your goal is to help Jumpster to retrieve his dispersed units of fuel, collecting up to 3 in each of its 80 levels while avoiding dangerous traps and weird enemies. This task is accomplished via a slingshot mechanic that allows you to fling Jumpster around the board, offering plenty of puddles and large raindrops to utilize for life-preserving power. Land Jumpster on dry ground for too long and he’ll suffocate, forcing you to restart. Often times, the solution to the level involves using on-screen objects like bouncepads and blocks to cross great distances or destroy obstacles that keep you from reaching your spacecraft and jetting off to the next level. It may not be all that difficult, but it is fairly fun, until the IAP pop-ups start showing up. Fail a level a few times and you’ll be offered the chance to buy your way past the level. Fail again and you get another offer to buy invincibility to spikes. Keep missing the mark and you’ll keep receiving additional offers. Like dealing with an obnoxious car salesman, we could only take so much before bailing for kinder and less pushy games. It’s fine to have IAP available, but don’t keep “reminding” me and “suggesting” that I shell out money.
The graphics style is decent, offering colorful and vibrant worlds to explore. The slingshot mechanic is familiar, and an aiming line allows you to fire with precision. There is no timer forcing you to complete levels within a certain time, but some obstacles (like swinging spiky balls) naturally force you to play quickly to avoid failure. Level design is decent, though we never felt overly challenged, making the game feel appropriate for a younger audience were it not for the constant temptation to spend their parents’ money when advised to do so by the frequent pop-ups. The soundtrack is cheery, helping to create an overall pleasing presentation. Replay value is low, as we could only deal with the IAP system for so long before we were left with a sour taste and the desire to delete forever from our devices. We also didn’t care for the energy system that forces gamers to wait for real-world hours to pass before continuing, lest you cough up more money. Coins earned in the game can be used to customize Jumpster’s look if you so desire, and there are also 20 achievements to earn. A universal app for free, Jumpster earns a 3-Dimple score which could have been higher had they simply taken a chill pill first.