Something, something, Egoraptor reference
Four Christmases ago, I joined the smartphone brigade when I found an iPhone 4S nestled under the tree. Oh boy! I thought. Now I can grab all those iOS games that people can’t shut up about! And for a couple of years, I was an eager mobile beaver.
These days, I’m still rockin’ that 4S because upgrading for the sake of upgrading is for chumps. But the magic of mobile gaming has faded. I’ve grown so jaded. It’s the complete lack of honesty among the most prominent mobile publishers that really busts my bojangles.
Now here is FreakZone Games, the studio behind Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, hoping to deliver a similarly challenging retro experience to the mobile space. FreakZone empathizes with folks who despise the freemium model and lament the deficiencies of virtual buttons, and presents Jump’N’Shoot Attack as an answer to our woes.
Jump’N’Shoot Attack (Android, iOS [reviewed], Windows Phone)
Developer: FreakZone Games
Publisher: ScrewAttack Games
Released: March 26, 2015 (Android, iOS) / TBA (Windows Phone)
You are Louise Lightfoot. The President has been captured by mutants. In order to save him, you must follow these specific instructions:
Every so often, jump and shoot at the same time.
So… Mega Man? Yeah, kinda! Only the commands are more explicit here, since the only two actions at your disposal are jumping and shooting.
Jump’N’Shoot Attack is an auto-runner, only less Canabalt and more Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run. There are four worlds split into four stages apiece, and Louise will hoof through each without a care. To jump, tap anywhere on the left half of the screen; to shoot, tap anywhere on the right half. Simple and responsive!
Your gun can be upgraded twice by collecting power-ups — the first upgrade grants a double shot, while the second bestows the mighty spread shot. Raising the stakes even further is a jetpack item found in certain stages which transforms the action into a deadlier version of Jetpack Joyride.
The 16 stages are rather short, so to compensate, they’ve been packed with enough enemies and obstacles to give your thumbs a proper workout. Between adjusting the height of your jumps to cross narrow platforms and hammering the trigger because your gun is not rapid-fire, you’ll be feeling the burn before long! One small mercy is that Louise stops running if she hits a wall, so use the break to regain composure before hopping over and storming onward.
For completionists, three gems can be found in each level. As expected, collecting these gems often requires you to skirt closer to death than you’d prefer. Case in point, you may reach a fork in the path, with one branch leading to a gem and the other to a power-up that would make the rest of the level less stressful.
As concentrated as the challenge is, however, the overall length is still on the tragically low end — on my first run, collecting the gems in all but two levels, I finished in just over an hour. There’s even an achievement for clearing the game in under 10 minutes! Unless you are a serious achievement or high-score hunter, it’s unlikely that you’ll return to Jump’N’Shoot Attack once the credits roll.
There’s a solid foundation that I hope FreakZone will expand upon. Rayman Jungle Run got a free update that added more levels, so perhaps that’s a possibility here as well. Could we maybe get some boss battles too? It’s a shame to have a game that so clearly draws inspiration from Mega Man and Contra but skimps out on the meaty encounters that highlight those series.
So will Jump’N’Shoot Attack spark a mobile renaissance and win over the hardcore masses? Probably not. Is it a solid runner that delivers a tough but responsive platforming experience as promised? Absolutely. Gold star for effort.