Platformers. You've played them longer than you possibly know. Some of you played Pitfall, which is a classic run and jump game, swinging across vines, and avoiding alligators. The folks that made that game now make Call of Duty. I digress. Most of you have played the Nintendo classic Super Mario Bros., which is a 32 level platforming clinic, and probably one of your first forays into saving a princess. Some of you are currently playing games like Only Up, where the goal is to go...uh...only up. If there's a game that requires jumping, running, and sometimes collecting, you have a platformer. Now there are other elements that would turn these platformers into an action adventure, but Atari - and Graphite Lab - wanted to make it a little simpler for you. But I'm here to tell you that, as simple as it appears, there is absolutely nothing necessarily simple about Mr. Run And Jump.
Now if you're looking for a story here, there are no princesses to save. There are no evil figures waiting at the end for you to defeat with your powerups. Your dog is running away. Not to get away from you, but because that puppy sees something very very shiny, and it runs. You get to go after it. Run And Jump (Mr., or Ms., which you can change). That's pretty much it. No one tells you why your dog is going after this thing. It is really cool that it starts out as a true Atari 2600 game, and then converts into the 2023 Atari Graphite Lab Kombinera-type of color scheme. The story is not that important, because really, that's all it is.
I would like to also warn you, that while most other platforms have a way to defeat enemies with fireballs, stone axes, boomerangs, knives, and the like, Mr. Run And Jump has NAHTING! You get no power ups. No special abilities. No learning upgrade tree. No special hidden blocks. Mr. Run And Jump has you doing mostly two things. I'll give you a couple of guesses as to what those things are. Time's up. It's Running and Jumping. Oh, and there's not a button to make him fun faster, so it's one speed. It's pretty fast, but it's one speed, and at first, you won't find yourself getting used to it. The start up is nil. You're off and running. Into things, but running nonetheless.
Look, I'm not going to hold you here for long. The premise is simple. But this is an Atari game, and though you can do little more than just running and jumping, you do have a few tricks up your sleeve. You definitely have a double jump, a wall jump, and a long jump. You can also turn into a ball (Kombinera), and roll into tighter spaces. You even have a dive to extend your jump, single or double. You will use all of these to get through each level. ALL OF THEM!
There's an in-game character named Mr. Watch and Learn. This character will show you how to navigate through the first few courses of the game. After that, he kind of tells you what's coming up next, as far as enemy intel, and what to watch out for, but he's strictly there to make sure he does his job. Your job is to Run and Jump. Every now and then, it's to watch and learn. This is an NPC you do not want to skip. Every tip is definitely educational. Sometimes, he'll even show another Mr. Run And Jump to lead by example.
Speaking of which, the first thing he teaches you is about the shards spread out through the level. These shards are all over the place. Sometimes, they are telling you what you need to do, and how to navigate. In the later levels, they are definitely a skill check. Small trophies for being good at the game, but let's face it, you're not. Chasing down these shards will get you smacked more than anything. If you collect all the shards, they turn into a blue orb for unlockable levels. I will admit, that after the violet level 1, I found myself not collecting those shards. I didn't care for them, so if you're not a one of those 100% people, then you should skip them too, for there are other orbs to collect.
Within the level, there are secret, glowing passageways for you to challenge yourself to get an orange orb. Again, the first few are easy. They are not going to just let you have all the orbs. That would be silly. They get harder and harder, and are definitely skippable. I did find myself using these as a checkpoint. When you die (not if, when), you start from the last entrance you made. So if you make it to one of these secret ports, you can go in, and come right back out and continue making your way through that part of the level. Take advantage of this. You could be cooking out these, and miss a jump, and have to start over from that part of the level. About that...
The first three levels of each color (Violet, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red) are all broken up into panels. Once you complete a panel, you start trekking through another one. There are no true check points, and though the shards are everywhere, remember that most of them are there to challenge you. Also, know that as soon as you start a new panel, there could be an enemy coming straight for you right at the beginning. Luckily for you, you start from the panel, not the level. Bad news if you're on a roll, and you get slapped by a frog, or a floating skull. It's brutal in it's own Atari way, and if you like a challenge, you're in for a treat.
Level four of each color is called a void. Think of these as a impending doom levels. Your skills are tested as you try to make it to the end of the level, while avoiding the void, engulfing everything in the screen. There are no blue shards here, and the orange orbs are easier to grab, as they're not within a secret space. The void comes from the left, the right, below, and above, depending on the panel. This isn't even one of those "let's test everything you learned" type of levels. The void is there to do one thing and one thing only, and that is to keep you from progressing. You're trespassing, essentially. You're in the void's house, and the void is there to boot you out of said house, but you just keep coming back, as if you couldn't change your name to "Mr. Returns and Exchange", or "Mr. Breathe and Stop". "Mr. Stop Drop and Roll" would even suffice.
The enemies here, again, can not be defeated, so everything here must be either dodged or avoided. They don't always have the same properties, so a group of floating skulls could be going left to right. Another group further in could be moving faster, up and down. It's not about learning patterns. Even timing is tricky. You have to use everything you have sometimes to not get crushed by a stone monster, or something that comes at lightning fast speed when you land on the same floor as it.
From frog-looking things, to the fastest flies I've ever seen, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is out to get you. Sometimes, the spikes double as a monster hiding in the walls. The worst way to find that out is to mess around, and not pay attention to Mr. Watch and Learn. They are everywhere, and if you know anything about hitboxes, Mr. Run and Jump DOES NOT! The game does not care if you breathe on an enemy wrong. You're dead. Press X to continue.
When you die, you press X to continue. You will do this a lot. You will do this, and rush right back into action, and get killed again. You will do this in sections over and over again. You have a high jump where you can hold a button, and push the jump button, launching you straight up in the air. You'll press X to continue if you push the control stick right or left, while hitting that jump button, because that turns into a launch. Oh? You didn't want to do that? Deal with it. Were you wall jumping through a difficult part, and wasted your only double jump, and you don't have enough to wall jump your way back up? Push X to continue. Did you avoid the first frog, and forgot the second frog was jumping down from a platform above your head? Press X to continue. Your little skull and crossbones will be on that screen a ton, and I don't care how good you are at shell jumping. This game was made to punish you. And you will be punished.
If you happen to make it through all the levels, and you have enough orbs, there's a black level. And this level doesn't care about you from the first panel. There are also time trials for each level, if you want to put your run and jump skills to the test. Repetition is necessary. You won't have a choice. Atart didn't make this for the light at heart. 20 levels to start, and then you get an extra 5 levels, depending. You'll need 24 orbs to unlock the first black level. I don't know why you want this pain at this point. It's maybe put there for Atari to laugh at you and your children, sending them back to Roblox, and Overwatch, as they raise a poster board over you that says "Skill Issue".
You can also unlock hats for Mr. Run And Jump, by completing levels in the game. In the options, you can take out that ridiculous bloom, change the language, and turn the controller vibration off or on. If you wanted to make the game easier, you can turn on checkpoint flags, and invisibility pickups. You can also check your shard progress at anytime within the level, because you can't possibly keep up. There are also time trials for each level you complete.
Here's the skinny. Atari games aren't made for you to breeze through, they are made to show the true definition of practice makes perfect, and progression is rewarded. Also, I'm kidding. There's a studio in St. Louis watching your streams, and laughing at you. They are entertained by your struggle. Sorry, champ. Press X to continue.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
Joseph is the resident streamer for Gaming Nexus. He grew up playing video games as early as the Atari 2600. He knows a little about a lot of video games, and loves a challenge. He thinks that fanboys are dumb, and enjoys nothing more than to see rumors get completely shut down. He just wants to play games, and you can watch him continue his journey at Games N Moorer on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, and Facebook gaming!View Profile