Jumpala – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Platformer, Fighting
Developer: Yokereba Games
Publisher: Versus Evil
Platform: PC
Tested On: PC

Jumpala – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Vibrant Cast, Good Sound Design, Unique Mechanics
Bad: Steep Learning Curve, Sub-par Matchmaking
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

There haven’t been many titles in the video game world that can blend multiple unrelated genres together. Jumpala, on the other hand, is one of the few titles able to blend some of the most complex genres in gaming, such as puzzlers, platforming, and fighting games, and use mechanics from each to make a unique but enjoyable experience nonetheless.  

Story

As expected, Jumpala doesn’t have much in the story department. From what players can gather from the lore, on the official website, there is a special event that happens every year called the Jumpala Tournament, with various competitors from around the world competing for the title of world champion. The game does offer a backstory for each of the playable characters, and their primary motives for competing, and that’s all it offers. Understandable, considering the game’s primary focus is on a more competitive side.

Graphics

Jumpala uses 2D pixel art and sprite animations, similar to games like Wizard Of Legend and Enter The Gungeon, and needless to say, it fits perfectly. The game oozes personality, even from the title screen, which is heavily colored and vibrant. The stage variety is limited, but each one is unique enough to not cause much of a stir. Ranging from futuristic labs, city skyscrapers, to frozen caverns, each area is unique and correlates with each of the playable characters.

The character designs, however, are the main highlights. Currently, there are seven playable characters, all extremely different from each other aesthetically and gameplay-wise, which will be detailed later. A noticeable trait, however, is that the clothing and colors of each character reflect their personality, which can be further supported by the character’s lore. For example, Lola, one of the playable characters, is described as hot-blooded and determined, and the clothing is ironically red. Frore, another character, is described as elegant and cold, and she wears blue. Overall the game does a fantastic job making the characters as unique as possible. 

Sound

Instead of using a more conventional form of chiptune, which is prevalent in most pixelated games, Jumpala uses synthwave and heavy beats to carry its soundtrack. When traversing through levels, the music is somewhat calm but still upbeat enough to support the competitive nature of the game. Certain stages, like Twilight Canyon, are more subtle and atmospheric and fit the mood of traveling through the sky, while Arata City, is more futuristic and fast-paced, fitting the urban setting. 

Sound effects are well done also, when passing on tiles, a noticeable pip is heard when players take control of tiles, ringing noises are heard when power-up chests are opened, and the abilities of each character are loud and distinct enough to know what is being used. One of the characters has the ability to stop time for the whole stage, and when he does, players can hear the distortion of everything freezing, even the music, a noticeable feat in its own right.

Gameplay

Jumpala is a competitive platformer/puzzle-based fighting game. The main goal is to compete with other players and race to the top of each level, collecting points by hopping on platforms. Whoever has the highest number of points at the end of the stage wins. The game can be played rather well on either keyboard or controller, with the latter being the best pick.

The gameplay loop adopts a simple but complex to master formula. Revolving around quick-thinking and space control, players collect points by hopping on platforms. The higher the number of the platform, the higher the score. Player-controlled platforms are highlighted by their respective color, and when the platforms dissipate, the scores are officially added. Players can use their own abilities to kill others, reducing their overall score.

Overall, the skill ceiling in this game is immense considering there are multiple ways to play. To players new to competitive games, however, this can be a problem. Since the game doesn’t have skill-based matchmaking as of yet, players new to the game can have a hard time playing online with more experienced players. This can make the game highly unbalanced and unenjoyable to beginners. 

There are seven playable characters in total, each with their own special and ultimate technique, with each catering to many different playstyles. Lola is an aggressive fighter, benefiting from close-range combat by using her sword to knock out enemies and claim platforms for herself, while Bommer is a more technical character using explosives to detonate platforms so other players can’t move around. In turn, almost every match needs to be played differently depending on the stage and characters picked. Jumpala does a great job of making every match feel fresh, considering how every character is different.

Death doesn’t always come from characters, however. Some stages are littered with traps and obstacles. Explosive platforms, debris, and lasers are all but a few of the problems players will have to manage while racing to the top. In addition, power-ups are also available to collect while climbing, which offer certain buffs, like invincibility and super speed. 

The game can be played with up to four players, in multiple ways. The standard one-on-one mode is the first pick, with team and free-for-all being available locally. Sadly, the online modes for the game are heavily limited. The only option made available to players online is the standard one-on-one mode, which is concerning. The option to make lobbies is available, but is only limited to friends, and the only mode available is, again, the standard one on one. This is somewhat disappointing as with the game’s emphasis on competitive gaming, the limited option to only one game mode online, with little to no player interaction is a huge problem.

Conclusion

Jumpala blends multiple genres that shouldn’t work together, pretty well. The gameplay loop is enjoyable, the music fits, and unique characters give more incentive to learn different gameplay styles. However, being a title focused on a competitive setting rather than casual play, new players trying to find footing might have a hard time learning the ropes. Considering the limited game modes online, this makes things surprisingly more difficult.    

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Jumpala - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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