Jump o’Clock in review – Gear up for some addictive tower climbing
Article link: Jump o’Clock in review – Gear up for some addictive tower climbing
I’ve noticed a lot of people like to describe a game by saying ‘if x and y had a baby”, so if I were to describe Jump o’Clock I’d have to say, “if Doodle Jump and Captain Ludwig had a baby…” The funny thing is, I think I like Jump o’Clock better than either. There’s not as much to do as in Doodle Jump, but I like the atmosphere better, and personally I think it’s more fun to jump around gears collecting bolts than to jump around planets collecting stars. But then, I am a bit of a geek. At any rate, I wasn’t honestly expecting too much from Jump o’Clock, but I think I’ve gotten kind of hooked on it. Now if I could just get good at it…
There’s no false pretense of a story behind Jump o’Clock. You simply play a cute little robot name Le0, and it’s your job to make your way up to what amounts to being a demon inspired tower. Why do I say that? Surely the designer had to be possessed by something to create the tower the way he did. Some of the gears have spikes on them, while others are electrically charged. If you stay on those too long the charge will knock you off and stay active for a couple of seconds so you can’t jump back on the gear. Then there are those nasty jets of steam that shoot from the walls of the tower, as well as the sections of weak walls that seem to have lava behind them? Maybe they should call this Dante’s Clock Tower?
Have no fear, though. You have three things going for you that will help you reach for the stars (or at least higher parts of the tower). The first is your uncanny ability to stick to the gears. This comes in handy when a gear turns you upside down, because without your adhesive nature you’d have a long fall ahead of you. The second is the fact that you can slowly slide down walls, which means if you should overshoot a gear you still have a chance of coming out of the situation without plummeting to your death. If you end up sliding down a wall simply tap the screen to spring back onto the playing field. Finally, there’s the super jump. You fuel this jump by collecting bolts that are lying around the clock. When you’ve collected enough of them a button will appear that will let you jump a couple hundred feet higher in the tower. On the down side, you never know where you’re going to land, and I’ve had my share of pointy destinations, if you get my drift.
If you just tap Play at the main menu you’ll get endless mode, where your goal is to get as high in the tower as you can. Things like spikes and steam jets won’t kill you directly, but they will knock you around a bit, and could result in you plummeting to your doom. I’m not usually big on the whole “endless mode” concept, but I rather enjoy it in this game. Maybe it’s because I’m not very good at it, so endless mode doesn’t take me too long. Anyway, if that’s not your cup of tea there’s also the Challenges options, which presents you with a series of goals like “get X amount of feet in Y seconds” or “collect Z number of bolts”. Each challenge is actually a group of three goals, where each goal has steeper requirements and entails a more challenging tower layout.
I love the cartoon Steampunk style of Jump o’Clock’s visuals. There are three layers to the graphics, and there’s always something going on in each of them. I especially like all the machines moving around in the background (makes you wonder what’s really going on in these clock towers). Also, while I’m not usually a fan of limited colour palettes, the use of primarily yellows, oranges, browns and purples works quite well in this game. The only thing I’d like to see is a slightly bigger main character. Maybe for the iPad version (please let there be an iPad version).
The sound effects are decent, though they’re pretty standard fare for this type of game. I do wish there were a bit of a sizzle or something for the lava, since the electricity and steam have their own sounds. The music is wonderful. At times it’s Hogan Heroes, then it sounds like something off of a Danny Elfman soundtrack, and then it just goes wherever it wants. What I really like is that it changes as you go up the tower, so you don’t have to wait for a new game to hear something different.
As I was trying to think of what to list in the Cons section of the conclusion, I realized that my main gripe with this type of game is usually the fact that there are no clear goals. With the Challenges, however, I can’t really complain about that. As a result, there’s nothing really faulty enough about the game to list as a con. I’m not a real big fan of the infinite climber style of game play, but for what it is, Jump o’Clock does the job quite admirably. Maybe some day we’ll get to see Le0 in one of my favorite genres – the platformer.
iTunes: Jump o'Clock