I love games that don’t mess around. No frills or fluff, just “Here’s what I am and here’s what you get." That’s the vibe I get from Jump Jerboa from self-described “mostly solo" developer Chinykian. This is a minimalist one-button platformer that features a Jerboa, which is a creature I wasn’t previously aware of. What’s a Jerboa then? Part rabbit, part kangaroo, and part rat, it’s an animal that gets around by jumping and it’s both cute and horrifying at the same time. At least the pixel art version in Jump Jerboa is more adorable than the real thing, and the perfect pick to star in a platforming game that’s all about jumping.
That’s another thing about Jump Jerboa: It strives to be minimalist and easy to play with just one-button controls, but when you strip a genre down to its most bare essentials, you have to absolutely nail the feel of every square inch of the game. Thankfully Chinykian does just that. The jumping physics are perfect and precise, with granularity in the strength of your jump based on how short or long you tap the jump button. Wall jumping is also a base mechanic here, and again your weight as you slide down the wall and spring off of it again just feels perfect.
With those core mechanics nailed down tight, Jump Jerboa spends its 90 levels (with more planned) exploring a bunch of supplemental mechanics, like jump pads, roving enemies, Donkey Kong Country-like cannons, disappearing platforms, and more. The level designs are just phenomenal, and the challenge level is just right without feeling too easy or too difficult. There’s a bonus challenge of grabbing every coin in a level in a single run, if you need a little extra something. You will definitely die a lot, but the restart is almost instant, as it should be in games like this, so it’s no problem to try a particularly challenging level over and over until you get it just right.
While the gameplay itself is the star of Jump Jerboa, it doesn’t hurt that the visuals are also pleasing, and the chiptune soundtrack is just plain fantastic. It’s an easy game to recommend too as it’s completely free with ads, and a one-time IAP to remove them if you wish. This certainly isn’t the first one-button precision platformer like this, and it’s not that it’s breaking any real new ground or anything, but Jump Jerboa is finely honed from every angle, and it’s a shining example of this type of game done just right.