Like a game with a time limit? A game that makes you think? Games that fry your brain? If you enjoy puzzlers that are fun, fast paced and frustrating its time to read on!
Who and what is Xump? Xump is a bot, not just any bot he is the Head Bot. A yellow ball of metal that has been called to save the day. Your mission – to dissolve blue tiles by simply stepping on them. Easy right? Well......
A quick aside from Atari Gamer here - how do you say Xump? Is it like JUMP with an Z (zump)? Is like more like ex-UMP? Or is it khsUMP? Tell us in the comments below
This is no easy game. The outline sounds simple. Step on some tiles, they dissolve and you complete the level by making your way to the solid grey tiles. The problem is the levels have a few hazards to hamper your progress. 🛑
There's the edge for a start. Fall off the tile edge – you're dead. Stand too long on a tile – you're dead. Then, there are mines. You're required to walk over a tile twice with a mine on it. Walk the wrong way? Dead. There's also a nice teleport system that can move you around the level. Great. Until they send you to a location where you have already dissolved the tiles! Dead. Plus let's not forget the arrows, these will send you in what direction they are pointing. Go the wrong way and you’ve guessed it – dead! ☠️
Not only does the poor old bot have to deal with all these hazards. There's a time limit on each level. You have to think fast and move quickly - but safely. Don’t forget, make a mistake and..... well you know the outcome!
It's not all gloom and doom though. Let's take a look at some of the aspects of the game and see if this bot is full of life or is going to the scrapyard.
The graphics are nice. Chip's Challenge sort of nice. Simple and effective. The colours pop and the animation is smooth. You can make out exactly where each tile and hazard is. The problem is finding a safe route! The cut scenes when you start a new level are very nice, pretty and colourful as you go into the next level.
The controls are simple. You can move 4 ways depending on the tile layout. Up, down, left and right. The bot responds well to your actions. At first, I felt the bot was gliding and fell off the edges quite a bit. This was easily solved with learning how to play the game properly! You can make the bot glide across the tiles by holding the directional pad down in the direction you want to go. For more pinpoint movement just tap the button once and the bot will move across one tile only. Very easy to grasp and works perfect within the game. Just remember though, move too slow and the tile will dissolve beneath you!
The game has some good music. It varies on each level. It's not a pumping soundtrack but flows with the game well enough. There are sound effects when your bot moves and when certain actions are taken, like walking over arrows or falling off a tile. It has a nice soundtrack and sound effects that never really get annoying.
Make no mistake this is a fun game. Frustrating at times but fun. What puzzle game isn't frustrating? It's all part of the challenge. Trial and error plays a big part in the game. As each level is timed, you only really have a few seconds to scan the level and process what you can see. You then plan your route and make your way through the tiles (or brute force it until you succeed). Go too fast and you will certainly run into trouble, go too slow and the timer will run out. You have to balance your attempt at beating the level every time. Each level is different and brings its own set of hazards. The game cleverly fools you into thinking some levels are complex, when really there is a simple route to safety. This is a sign of a great puzzle game. It gets you thinking. It makes you make mistakes. Most importantly, it gives you a sense of achievement when you finally beat the level that’s made you scrunch your face up and almost buy a Gamegear instead. (What a downgrade that would be!)
The packaging for this game is excellent as always from Songbird Productions. The box is the same size as the standard Atari Lynx official game boxes, but it is full colour and glossy. The cover graphics are simple and vibrant and draw you into grabbing the box and turning it over in your hands to see what the game screenshots are like. The cartridge is a curved lip style, injection molded cart, sans the Atari Fuji logo. The manual is fairly basic but very colourful and works well. It's the size of a CD Jewel case insert, similar to many other Songbird Productions game manuals.
Xump is a classic puzzler. It has all the elements of what a puzzle type game needs. It's addictive and makes you want to have one more go before you put it down. It's fun, gets you in a panic and at the same time frustrated with yourself over a simple but wrong move. It has a save feature via a password system so you can start where you left off. It also has continues so you can carry on attempting the levels as many times as you need. These are good additions to the game, you are much less likely to give up this way rather than starting from the beginning. If you like a challenge, puzzler type games like Chips Challenge, Xump is a worthy addition to your collection. Is your brain big enough is the question.
P.S. There is also Xump 2 which is free to download and play as a ROM.