Made for Atari 2600 by indie studio Graphite back in 2021 (res, really), Mr. Run and Jump impressed its own developer and Atari so much that it’s now been made for modern consoles, too. What you can expect from Mr. Run and Jump, then, is a game simple enough work on a console from the 70s, yet fun to play and highly addictive. And this modern version also sports an attractive makeover.
Transported to a world of neon, in Mr. Run and Jump the titular hero must traverse numerous zones themed on colours. There are multiple levels in each zone, and while you can simply make it to the end of each one if you wish, to gain access to all of the game’s levels you’ll also have to seek out special challenge areas and collect Challenge Orbs. Needless to say, it’s a game that’s easy to pick up but hard to master.
This is largely your standard platforming fare, but one on which mastery of your moveset is a must if you want to get far. Mr. Run and Jump can of course run and jump, but it’s when you factor in other abilities that affect how these basic functions work that everything becomes a little more complicated. Hold down the crouch button while running, for example, and you’ll being to roll like a ball, allowing you to fit through small gaps at speed. And if you jump while rolling, you’ll gain great distance but not much height.
Mr. Run and Jump is also capable of wall-jumping and dashing through the air. The game’s levels are deviously designed so that you’ll need to carefully consider your repertoire at every turn. Mess up, and you’ll be taken back to the last checkpoint, which admittedly is never too far back. It’s not only the environment you need to contend with in Mr. Run and Jump, either. In addition to spikes and other environmental hazards, you’ve also got to watch out for enemies such as frogs that jump between wet patches, flying skulls that follow set paths, strange sentry-like adversaries that dash at you on sight, and a whole lot more.
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For the most part, you can take Mr. Run and Jump at your own pace, thinking about your actions before trying to perform them flawlessly. In lieu of a boss fight, however, each zone is ended with a challenging level that pits you against The Void, a wall that pursues you, forcing you to think – and act – fast. Those what have played the likes of Ori and the Blind Forest or Rayman Legends may find them reminiscent.
Needless to say, those who don’t like repeating the same bits of levels time and time again probably won’t get on well with Mr. Run and Jump: it’s not a game for those who easily get frustrated. It does at least offer a lifeline for them, though, with additional checkpoints and invincibility pickups offered at a rate determined by the player. And for those who love it, additional gameplay can be eked out of it thanks to a Time Trial mode, which adds a speedrunning aspect.
With its tight controls and simple gameplay that’s easy to pick up but hard to master, Mr. Run and Jump is yet another game from Atari that should thrill those seeking an old-fashioned challenge. Though it is attractive-looking with its neon visuals, this is a game that proves gameplay is king, with you becoming strangely invested in the exploits of its stick-man protagonist and his dog, Leap.