Melbourne based developer Ian MacLarty has just released their latest game JUMPGRID to PC & Mac and it’s certainly worthy of your attention. This little game is deceptively inviting, with an awesome electronic soundtrack and simple design drawing you in. Although don’t start to feel too comfortable because the game will also push you to your absolute limits of twitch reflexes and muscle memory.
Calling JUMPGRID a challenging game is certainly appropriate. It’s the type of game that you’ll fail at 100 times but you’ll refuse to quit until you succeed. The concept is incredibly simple but successfully executing the required manoeuvres is where the challenge comes in. Thankfully JUMPGRID doesn’t punish you for failing, in fact it immediately throws you right back into the action allowing you to try again… and again… and again.
The game works on a 3×3 grid and all you need to do is jump between the 9 different nodes within that grid. When each node is jumped on a wormhole opens in the centre and allows you to travel to the next level. Things start getting tricky when you realise that each level has its own moving obstacles that get progressively more challenging as the game progresses.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve only made it just past the halfway point of the game so far. At this point I have witnessed 3 different areas, each with their own string of levels, new challenges, and unique music and designs. The game turns into a flourish of frantic movements as you try and react to your shifting surroundings. The developer has described the game as a “finger ballet” and I have to say this description feels pretty appropriate as you begin to master the movement and rhythm required to succeed.
Whilst the concept of the game is simple, the execution is outstanding. The game is a genuine joy… when you’re able to stop raging at the difficulty that is. The game introduces new types of obstacles steadily as you play and there are even levels that function as a sort of boss battle, for a lack of a better word. It’s an incredibly easy game to jump into for quick play sessions. It’s also the kind of game that will provide a challenge for even the most confident players.
I found myself falling into a Zen-like state as I focused all of my brain power into remembering patterns, remembering the required movements, and figuring out the timing that I’d need to master this particular level. It’s a big challenge but it’s also an experience that’s very rewarding and almost entrancing.