I am terrible at playing platforming games. I’ve never been very good at precise movement or well-timed jumps. When I was a child, I played my mother’s DOS games (hello, Hocus Pocus, Cosmo, and Lode Runner) and often had to ask for help to complete levels. I don’t think I have ever beaten a platforming game by myself.
Still, I absolutely adore the aesthetics of these classic games. While I may have to chicken out and have someone else do the hard work, I enjoy running around and occasionally figuring things out in these retro games.
So, when offered the chance to play Mr. Run and Jump from Graphite Labs and Heavy Horse Games, working with Atari, I (pun fully intended) jumped for it. The game looked so cute and fun, and I liked the soundtrack from the snippets I heard in the trailers.
Am I good at it? No. Am I still having an amazing time? Absolutely.
Classic Platformer Vibes
The vibes for Mr. Run and Jump are unbeatable. The story is simple: you play as Mr. Run and Jump, chasing your dog through different levels, and trying to figure out why everything’s gone… funny colored.
You honestly don’t need more than that for a game like this! It starts with a cute, classic, retro-style intro reminiscent of Atari games of ages past that transitions into an upbeat and exciting neon-aesthetic platformer.
And by upbeat, I mean both interesting to look at and fun to listen to. The soundtrack is a bumpy, beat-based synth score that drives you forward and matches the sound effects perfectly, creating a cohesive atmosphere of interesting level design and rewarding feedback when you get something right. I’m barely through the first world and I’m hooked on the neon enemy skulls and helpful pop-ups.
My Favorite Case of Controller Rage
All of that being said, do not forget that I’m terrible at these types of games.
It’s a classic platformer in the strongest sense of the words; if you’ve ever played Super Meatboy or Bloody Trapland, you know what this looks like. The level design starts out simple but quickly revolves around precise jumps and taking advantage of the movement mechanics in clever ways to skirt, skip, leap over, or otherwise avoid many obstacles, from floating skulls to spikes and more.
I can’t tell you how many times I got stuck in the introductory levels — there were a few instances of me nearly throwing my controller across my office, which probably wouldn’t have pleased my partner, sitting on the other side of said office. I’m terrible at precise controls and even worse at clever mechanic combinations.
You know what? I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of frustration and rage, which is very unusual for me.
Something about the rewarding sound design, visually appealing levels, and comfortable repeating background music made the failures more bearable, to the extent that I could play the game for hours at a time without getting genuinely upset.
It also helps that there are optional power-ups that spawn if you die enough times to help you with difficult areas. Phew!
Run and Jump for Joy
While I’m not usually a fan of hardcore platforming, I am a fan of retro games and games with fun aesthetics, so I’m happy I gave Mr. Run and Jump a try for myself. It’s well worth picking up if you’re into classic Atari games or if you just want to scream to synth music and curse a pixelated dog.