Jump, Step, Step ReviewDeveloper: Thang Phung DinhPublisher: Thunder Cloud StudioRelease Date: 11th August 2017Price: £6.39
For those of you old enough like me, who remember Big Trax from your childhood. You will recall how to operate it with its keypad on the top where you would input a series of commands to make it traverse your bedroom and park up somewhere else. Or if you were like me, you'd be interested to see if it could navigate the staircase resulting in a very broken toy. Fast forward to 2017, and we have Jump, Step, Step on console with a very familiar formula. Question being, does it transition well to console?
Short answer is a resounding no. Despite trying something new, it fails to hbe heralded as a revolution in game play mechanics, giving way to an awkward and confusing control scheme. Making programming your robot Bob a drawn out case of trial and error resulting in many deaths, wrong turns and hair pulling frustration with its convoluted controls.
The backstory is the basic crash land, find parts, repair and escape scenario, in a world full of treacherous platforms, spike traps, deadly falls and water that you must overcome to find all the broken parts of your ship to escape. Only one encounter with any kind of foe stands in your way, with that being Alice. A mechanical dragon that is awkward to defeat with either control system in place. Be that inputting your commands or manually controlling Bob.
Jump, Step, Step offers itself up in sections of gameplay, whereby you will have puzzles to solve in order to progress to the next, with each section becoming more devious in order to advance to the next. On your first run, the input of commands can be frustrating to say the least. You are restricted to this control layout with manual controls only becoming available once you have completed the game once. Each puzzle element must be passed in one go else you restart from the puzzles beginning. Meaning the actions must get you through and not halfway. Infuriating you as you near the end with how confusing it becomes.
Upon completing the game, you are unceremoniously dumped back at the start for another run without even a thank you for playing the game message. But now, now you can use them manual controls you were looking forward to in an attempt to crack that no death run for the final achievement you have, right? Well, not really. Bob is awkward to move about the level, and only level I might add. Slow and cumbersome is the order of the day, making some platforming elements even worse to navigate than the previous method. Fortunately, you can swap the controls around on the fly. I did encounter 2 sections near the end that required timing and a lot of luck regarding the completion of them, meaning you would either get killed by a spike trap or fall to your death. Despite getting the commands correct.
When I found out about Jump, Step, Step I was intrigued and looking forward to spending some time playing it. However, this was short lived due to how clumsy he could be controlled manually, and how difficult it was to program his movements. As a gameplay mechanic, it's certainly up there as being unique but it's far removed from being anything but enjoyable to play. A simple concept that's made far too tricky without a full explanation in the form of an in depth tutorial.
The game can be completed in less than half an hours worth of game time, and with only one level you may feel that it is not worth your time and hard earned cash. But the price is low, and if you're just after achievements, then it may just tempt you to make that purchase. Graphics
A jungle world laden with green bushes and trees, littered with stone platforms and a bright colour pallette that whilst not an out-of-this world look, service the game well enough. Music/FX
Other than an annoying sound resembling a wheel but gun as you move Bob around will grind the gears. Aside from this, you won't have much to listen too. Gameplay
Could have been so much better, but infuriating the user with its complex system of command input will have you searching for that all important solution. Manual controls do little to redeem the game. Value for Money
At just £6.39, it is a low price that will tempt achievement hunters, or someone curious enough to give it a whirl. But crossing the finish line in less than half an hour if you know what you are doing will leave you feeling a little deflated once all is said and done. Achievements
The one big reason people will be making that purchase. All but one of the achievements will cause you no concern whatsoever. All unlocking through natural progression. Even Alice can be defeated if you program Bob with less than the designated amount of command moves. Overall, it won't take too long to finish off if pure determined enough. Summary
Unsatisfying to play due to both control methods being either too difficult to figure out, or just plain slow and clunky. A real shame as I was hoping it would offer more than it did. As an idea for a game, I'm not saying it couldn't work in the future, just that it doesn't work here. Overall, it's a disappointment and too short. More levels and time invested into making the controls easier to understand would have made Jump, Step, Step a pleasure to play.
A copy was provided for review purposes.