Where Doodle Jump spawned a host of simple tilt-controlled casual games, Dizzypad seems to have done the same for the one-finger tap rotating-platform genre (we should trademark that one!). Jump o'Clock [App Store] by Glu Games falls squarely in this category, but instils its own steam-punk themed gameplay elements to differentiate itself from similar games.
Aptly named, Jump o'Clock gives you control over Leo, a rather cute robot, who propels himself up a clock tower from rotating cog to rotating cog by well...jumping. It's a simple concept that belies a captivating, challenging and surprisingly action-packed gameplay premise.
Initially, Jump o'Clock is more forgiving than other games of this variety. In the same way as Ninjatown, Leo can stick to and propel himself off the walls of the clock tower too, meaning miss-timed jumps aren't immediately fatal. As he climbs the tower though, so too do the dangers Leo encounters increase. In not too long, you'll be faced with cogs that are booby-trapped with spikes, walls that cannot be grasped and bouts of steam that will throw Leo off whatever he is currently clinging too. If Leo can't grab onto anything when he falls, it's game over.
Along the way are a myriad of golden bolts to collect. As you accumulate these, a bar at the bottom fills up. When it is completely filled, Leo can activate a super jump, propelling him upwards a significant amount whilst completely ignoring any traps in his way. Though this is the only power-up available to Leo, some level elements themselves lend a hand too, such as the springy cogs that produce a greater leap. We only discovered this through trial and error though, and we're a little disappointed that there's no help screen in-game explaining the different types of cogs and their effects.
Both the pitfalls and the aids that permeate the levels push the gameplay to an eventually breakneck pace where precision timing again becomes an important element. The 15 challenges available in the separate challenge mode further accentuate this skill and bring out different flavors in the gameplay by imposing a number of different conditions on you (such as reaching a certain height without using any walls or powerups).
Jump o'Clock boasts a flashy exterior that really brings the clock tower theme to life. Special mention should go to the sound designers too, as they have created a chirpy, light-hearted soundtrack that quickens in tempo as you climb further up, only adding to the great atmosphere.
We really enjoyed our time with Jump o'Clock and recommend it as a great casual time waster that will keep you at it for a long while trying to beat the challenges. OpenFeint integration provides high score leaderboards and achievements too (some of which do not apply at all to the main game mode, but are rewards for completing the challenges-- something that may not be apparent at first).
Please note, the initial release seems to have an issue with submitting high scores to OpenFeint, something the developer has identified and will be fixed in a patch to go out shortly. We'll keep you updated.
App Store Link: Jump o'Clock, $0.99.