Review date – 2017
HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS, CRASHERS! WE’VE GOT A LIVE ONE!
Jump Gunners is described as the definitive couch combat game for up to 4 players, matching fast paced hilarious recoil jumping gunplay, with core gameplay that is easy to learn but hard master. For you lazy schmucks that hate reading and find the idea of a full review entirely arduous, let me make sure you take away the right message here
Jump Gunners is a blast, and you and your friends need it in your life.
Right, still with me? Great.
It’s the product of James Stone at Nerd Rage Studios, founded in 2014 with James doing the vast majority of the work himself; and it is therefore of no insignificance to be noted that this game is not only perfectly functional, but finely tuned, full of energy, and a heck of a lot of fun!
“Finely tuned, full of energy and a heck of a lot of fun!”
When I first saw the screenshots for JG, I was immediately cast back to my younger years when my best friend and I would play games of Liero; an MS Dos game that played out like a live version of Worms with a multitude of crazy weapons and destructible environments. Jump Gunners has that same visual style about it with its chunky pixel graphics, gore effects, similarly diverse selection of weapons and destructible environments. But what I was even more pleased to discover was another similarity it shared – the aforementioned gun recoil, which has been improved beyond recognition.
Usually seen as a hindrance in shooting games, in Jump Gunners recoil becomes a key aspect to getting the advantage over your opponents in multiplayer, as it allows you to launch yourself up into the air and essentially fly around the map, if you’re able to learn to control it well enough.
There’s a deceptive amount of detail paid to this mechanic, with each weapon utilising it differently. There are loads of weapons to pick up in the game from breakable boxes littered around the map, such as shotguns, miniguns, sniper rifles and rocket launchers to name a few. Some weapons (such as the rocket launcher) will offer a much harder kick back than others, and then something like the flamethrower will offer a more consistent “jet pack” effect, and everything else lies somewhere in between. Mastering this recoil tactic will have you traversing the 80+ multiplayer maps (YES, 80!) much more quickly than simply platform jumping, and will also make you a much harder target for your opponent to hit. And it’s also just pretty God damn fun!
There’s a selection of multiplayer game types – Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and a mini game mode called Turkey Hunt, which plays out like competitive pigeon shooting.
The bulk of the game’s value comes in the form of this extremely entertaining multiplayer experience. It really is a game that gets better and better the more people you have playing, and I’m a sucker for a game that gives you an opportunity to crack open the beers and have a blast with your besties on a lazy weekend. It’ll be no time at all before you’re raging each other with well aimed grenade throws and vertical drop shotgun attacks after flying up into the stratosphere. There are so many opportunities to get creative with Jump Gunners, and it’s really nostalgic in the way it gets you both thinking and feeling how you used to with games that offered simple concepts, but grand levels of mastery to be obtained.
To top it off the whole game’s got a great old school original chip tune soundtrack that keeps up the momentum of gameplay, and loads of attention to detail has been taken with both ambient sound effects as well as the more incidental gun sounds, explosions and lovely squelchy blood noises. Oh I do love that squelch.
Did I mention your character can be customised with a selection of fine hats; from coloured bandannas to duck heads? For real, bro.
Although I’d say Multiplayer was the main focus for JG, the value for money in this title continues to demonstrate itself with a fully fledged single player campaign. Each of the 24 single player challenges involves you traversing a level in order to destroy a certain number of targets. The levels will be filled with a myriad of ways to get yourself killed and will require you to fully utilise every tool and trick in the game’s arsenal to succeed. You’ll be equipped with the basic rifle and grenades, and your success is determined not only by completing the level, but by the manner in which you complete it. For each challenge, you will only be allowed to die a certain amount of times, using a certain amount of bullets and grenades, in a certain amount of time. Should you meet the par for each of these elements you will receive a gold star, resulting in an Ace rating for successfully obtaining all 3 gold stars in one attempt. But fuck me, is it hard. These challenges have got a difficulty akin to the likes of Super Meat Boy, and it’s clear that the dev likes his games hard as nails. Cheers to you, Player!
“I’ll be playing Jump Gunners long after I publish this review.”
I haven’t managed to finish all the challenges the game has to offer, but they’re so well designed with such unique individuality that I just know I’ll be playing Jump Gunners long after I publish this review. This was no after thought, but a well thought out campaign that offers a hell of a lot of value on top of an already extensively fun multiplayer title. It would be nice to see some single player challenges that require the use of some of the other weapon variants as opposed to the standard rifle, but I hope to see this addition with one of the free content updates in future.
I’m blown away by the quality and quantity of what Jump Gunners has to offer in such a small package. It’s a perfect example of what a tiny (or one man in this case) dev team can do if they really care about the product they’re putting out, and with new weapons, new challenges, new levels and most importantly new HATS on the way as free DLC for all owners, I can’t wait to invite the lads round for more Jump Gunning mayhem.