Platforming games have been a staple in the gaming community ever since Pitfall was released on Atari. Many spins and twists have been introduced to the genre, but one thing remains the same: the platforming itself must be solid to make the game enjoyable. Now, what if the glitz and glamour of a traditional platformer was removed and replaced it with a point-A-to-B style with a strict ten-second time limit? The final product would end up being a boring game and something I wouldn’t really enjoy — or so I thought.
Jump Trials Supreme has no story. The main character is a shadow character with a cape, entrusted with a mission to get from the start to the end of the level and hit a switch in ten seconds. That’s it. No save the princess, no story — just the bare basics. At first, I was annoyed by this, as it just felt like I was playing a long mini-game with the same premise. Continuing through the Trial Mode, the game became more and more difficult; platforms moved and disappeared, hazards were put in my way, and I still had ten seconds to finish. I found myself yelling at my 3DS, throwing it on the couch, turning it off — and then, picking it back up to play again and defeat the level. How can I let a level defeat me? I’m a seasoned gamer. I can beat some level with a few hazards.
Trial Mode is broken up into ten segments, each containing ten levels, so there are one hundred levels, each lasting ten seconds. However, with all of my failures, the game felt like it was stretching out forever. Why couldn’t I beat this in ten seconds? — I don’t have enough time. Now, I have to open an area and finish it in the same ten seconds?! — This is frustrating. The game grades how fast each area is completed with a gold, silver, or bronze ranking. Competing against the clock was hard enough and now, I’m supposed to be beating this even faster?
The other two modes are Challenge and Course Attack. Challenge offers similar levels to Trial, but now, three coins must be collected. It also has ten segments with ten levels each, so another one hundred levels are waiting. Throw in the fact that the three coins must be collected to earn a good rating on the level, the ten seconds fly by. This was even harder than Trial Mode. To top it off, Course Attack presents completing ten levels in three hundred seconds. The game just keeps moving at a brisk pace while I pull out my hair, trying to figure out how to be precise enough to defeat the levels.
The graphics are nothing special, having a very basic visual appeal with no real 3D effects, as well as a stagnant background with the foreground being the focus of the action. The shadow character looks similar to Mr. Game & Watch from Smash Bros. Brawl. So the game isn’t very pretty and it’s so difficult to the point where I’m yelling and throwing things. Why would I still play this? Are there more complex controls I’m not aware of?
The answer to that is no. The game features some of the most basic controls, much like an NES game: move with the d-pad or stick, A to jump, press A again while in the air for a second jump. In the later levels, a hovering boot will appear, which can be jumped from. The simplistic nature is nice, since the rest of the game is so maddening, but why don’t I have anymore moves? Shouldn’t I be able to maneuver more? The control is rock solid, tight, and crisp, but I need more moves to beat these levels in ten seconds.
The insanity continues with the fact that the game features online leaderboards for all modes. So now, I’m not just competing against the ten seconds of each level, but I’m competing against the rest of the world? At this discovery, I was done with the game; there was no way that I was going to be able to post a respectable ranking. I am struggling with the ten-second limit and now, the rest of the world is breathing down my neck.
At that very moment, I realized something: I didn’t hate the game. I actually loved it. It was marvelous. The difficulty was great, an awesome deviation from what’s featured in most games. The online leaderboards meant I could play this forever and still find a challenge with people trying to one-up my score as I tried to do the same. The shadow figure wasn’t just a faceless character; it was me. I was the shadow figure and I had to conquer these levels. The game is hard, but I couldn’t blame it for that. I could only blame myself. The challenge of rushing through an area with many pitfalls in ten seconds wasn’t annoying at all; it was fun and rewarding. When a level that has been a struggle is finally beaten, it’s not enough to move on to the next one. Celebration’s required: standing up, shouting, yelling, realizing that something spectacular was accomplished by beating the supposedly unbeatable.
This isn’t a traditional platformer and it’s not a mini-game. It’s a full-on mind-destroying platformer that will leave your brain hurting, your blood pressure rising, your foul mouth flying, and your anger building. Honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other, though; this is an amazing game with deep replay value and a simple, but crisp, style that is well worth the $3.99 asking price. If you crave a challenge and enjoying platforms, Jump Trials Supreme is an eShop title for the 3DS that shouldn’t be passed up.
- A lot of content
- Crisp controls
- Online leaderboards
- Graphics are a little bland
- Maddening Difficulty at times
- No story