G5's output on the App Store has mostly consisted of adventure games, Time Management titles and Hidden Object games, so it comes as a surprise that their latest title is a Physics Puzzle game.
Jumpster begins with an alien, happily going about his business when his ship crashes in to a meteorite and he ends up stranded on the planet Okadia, with a lack of fuel and plenty of obstacles between him and his spaceship. Your task, if you haven't already guessed, is to get the fuel dotted around the level, avoid the spikey objects and find your way back to the ship before skipping off to the next level.
The game is pretty much a typical physics puzzler; stretch back the bouncy round alien in an Angry Birds style, let him go at your chosen angle and watch him bounce around. Water bubbles help to stop you before the impending spikes get a little too close, colour-coded buttons open doors and trampolines give you far more reach for higher platforms.
Controlling Jumpster is a joy, the developers have really got the feel for slingshot controls and the physics doesn't just plonk you on a platform, but allows the alien hero to slide around, making landings far trickier than they first appear. Everything feels as it should and the screen can be scrolled around with a single finger to plan the next move.
G5 have also done a good job with the graphics, making them bright and colourful with some pretty detailed backgrounds, but still allowing the game area to be easily seen. Jumpster himself can be accessorised with glasses, beards and hair, among other items, though it all costs precious in-game currency.
Level design varies. Some levels are pretty straightforward, but then you hit a more obscure level which requires a bit of trial and error to complete. This in itself is fine, but G5 have decided to add a stamina bar to the game which depletes with every move. This disappears with worrying ease when you find yourself stuck and, once it reaches empty, a large text box appears asking if you'd like to buy more stamina or spend your in-game credits on some rather expensive food to refresh the bar. You can wait for the bar to increase again, which basically means stopping the game for a while and going off to do something else instead, but it's not an ideal solution.
On top of this, try to complete a level in more than a few turns and another box appears asking if you'd like to skip the level for a fee. Likewise, you can play the next set of levels by paying real money too. While I understand the need to make money on a free game, the in app payments here seem far too forced and spoil the flow of the game.
It's a shame that this IAP gets in the way because aside from the need to feed the game money to continue, it's actually a very well put-together title. If Jumpster was a 69p or possibly even a £1.99 purchase without any IAP it would still be easy to recommend. The level design encourages planning and more than just trial and error, the physics hit the spot and the graphics are well designed, but for anyone with an aversion for the hard sell within a game Jumpster doesn't do itself any favours.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 7
- Longevity: 7
Page 1 of 1