Not the jumper you are looking for
Publisher QubicGames has a very hit-or-miss Switch library behind its name, with fun budget games like Robonauts and Astro Bears Party shining brighter than titles such as Pirates: All Aboard. Unfortunately, mobile port Jumping Joe & Friends is a resounding miss.
Jumping Joe & Friends plays like a slower and less charming version of Doodle Jump, except with local multiplayer as the main draw. There really is not much to the base game. You jump from one platform to the next until you hit an obstacle and the game ends. Rising lava is an underlying threat that keeps you from just sitting on a platform for too long, but if you jump at a remotely normal pace, you will likely not even know that the lava is there. Beyond that, there are power-ups and enemies littering the stages, and there are plenty of unlockables to keep you busy.
Jumping up short
Jumping Joe & Friends is a perfectly functional but thoroughly boring title. Usually, I was just waiting for a round to end. (At one point, I earned a “continue” after dying and was disappointed that I had to keep playing.) The two extra modes and the wide cast of characters are an insane grind to unlock, and ultimately they change very little. The unlockable modes are Race Mode, where you try to reach certain heights with a great time, and Hero Mode, which just serves as a hard difficulty setting.
There are also several unlockable and upgradeable characters, but I should reiterate that the game expects you to play way too much to earn unlocks. There are diamonds littering the game that act as currency. Standard unlocks cost between 1000 and 5000 diamonds, and an average round will net you about 100 to 200 diamonds. It makes for an absurdly mediocre and repetitive grind, during which you will probably grow to despise the game’s one endlessly looping song.
Jumping Joe & Friends shows glimpses of being fun at times, but this is generally not the case. The local multiplayer is the only real reason to ever come back to Jumping Joe & Friends, but you probably will not be entertained by it for longer than a few rounds. Overall, the game is quickly forgettable.
There are plenty of solid mobile ports on Switch–see Riptide GP: Renegade and Astro Duel Deluxe–but Jumping Joe & Friends is not one of them. The local multiplayer is the game’s best feature, but ultimately the game is just way too bland.
Jumping Joe & Friends costs $5 normally and $2.50 if you own Astro Bears Party (which you probably should if you ever use your Switch for local multiplayer). It is priced fairly, but I still have a very hard time recommending it. It may serve well as a temporary, kind-of-fun distraction for your kids, but even then, there are much better alternatives out there.
A code was provided by the publisher for this review.
Reviews Editor at Nintendo Enthusiast. I am a major fan of all consoles and eras. Follow me on Twitter @habitablestorm3 to watch me tweet about the many old games I love to spend time with.