Don’t go into Jumping Joe & Friends thinking this game is anything more than a port of a phone app meant to kill some time here and there. It is a game that can be fun for short bursts, but anything more than that and it can quickly become monotonous.
The game has you playing as a cube, or rather, a square, as the viewpoint is completely 2D. Your goal is to simply go up. There are platforms scattered through the level allowing you to jump up one level at a time. To do this you simply press the right trigger or A button to jump to the platform to the upper right. Likewise, pressing the left trigger or B button will allow you to jump to the upper left. It sounds simple, and it is. The challenge is that there isn’t always a platform to your right or left.
Also, there are often obstacles in your way, such as spikes on platforms, bats flying around, cannonballs threatening your progress, and other hazards that will attempt to impede your quest to go upward and onward. To make matters worse, lava is constantly slowly rising from the bottom of the screen, so don’t take too much time or you’ll be toast! I never felt like the lava was something that I had to worry about, but my own desire to go faster did get me into trouble some times and errors were made.
There are four game modes in the game. The main mode is Arcade, where you simply try to get as high up the stage as you can. There is also a multiplayer mode, which I did not play too much, but when I did the screen split vertically, reminding me a bit of Tetris. When you play enough of these modes you unlock Race Mode and Hero Mode. Neither is much different than the Arcade Mode but add some variety. You can also unlock upgrades to the characters you use and earn new characters as well by collecting gems during your venture to the top.
At first I struggled to get into Jumping Joe & Friends. It’s a shallow game and something obviously designed to kill time on a phone during a lunch break or waiting at the doctor’s office. However, after I got into it I started to see its appeal. Jumping Joe & Friends is well done for what it is. The controls are responsive and there is a bit of a Zen-effect when you get into the flow of the game. However, in the end there wasn’t enough here to keep me coming back for more.
Jumping Joe & Friends was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.