I’ve poured a fair amount of time into precision-based platforming games, but it’s rare that one has me sat, knuckles white, gripping my controller with every ounce of strength in my body trying to resist the urge to just call it quits and turn it off before I end up breaking something.
The neon world of Mr. Run and Jump takes all the confidence you might have regarding your platforming ability and puts you into what feels like the ultimate test of skill. Though it initially comes across as a colorful and pretty friendly-looking platform game, potentially gunning to become one of the best indie games, it’ll very quickly have you staring at your screen with fear that blinking will make you misstep and need to repeat an entire section again.
As you’d expect from a precision-based platformer, there isn’t much room for error, and with something as tight as Mr. Run and Jump, you just have to accept that you are bound to fail no matter how optimistic you are going into it. Certain levels are specifically designed to trip you up, which I found out even during the simpler early stages.
Mastering different skills as you navigate the challenges between each level is fun, but that didn’t stop me from feeling like there were certain things I just couldn’t hack. Even when chaining these skills together to speed through simpler levels in the first world, I’d still end up running face-first into a wall of spikes.
For a console player, it's mechanics translate well to controller, and it could very well land among the best Nintendo Switch games if you appreciate a challenge on the hybrid handheld console.
To make things even more frustratingly competitive, if finishing a level the first time around wasn’t enough, you can replay the entire thing in a time trial too. I did try this before I realized that I couldn’t stomach the idea of trying to pull off certain stunts a second time, let alone to a clock, so swiftly backed out. But, when I’m at a point where I don’t feel like I might snap, this might be something I revisit later down the line.
There’s still hope
But, it’s not all never-ending repetition and difficulty, and there are moments when the game feels more forgiving than you might expect. If you’re like me and get put off when you’re consistently having to respawn and repeat a process, there are a few “easy mode” options that do come in handy when you’re sick to death of the same set of jumps. If you find yourself spawning in the same area over and over again, a variety of alternatives become available so you can continue through the game without feeling the urge to destroy your hardware.
You can also change how often they spawn depending on how much you’re struggling with certain areas, or disable them entirely if you want to really challenge yourself. I can assure you though, even with as much assistance as possible at certain points, this game still made me want to scream into a pillow for as many hours as I’d already spent retracing my steps.
But even though I walked away from my first session with bruised confidence, there is something about Mr. Run and Jump which will have you coming back to see if you can one-up yourself in the next playthrough, which to me, marks a well-designed, enjoyable game, even if it makes me want to throw my PC from a window.
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Kara is an Evergreen writer at TechRadar Gaming. With a degree in Journalism and a passion for the weird and wonderful, she's spent the last few years as a freelance video game journalist, with bylines at NintendoLife, Attack of the Fanboy, Prima Games, and sister publication, GamesRadar+. Outside of gaming, you'll find her re-watching Gilmore Girls or trying to cram yet another collectible onto a shelf that desperately needs some organizing.