What if Super Meat Boy had a kid with Contra?

Title: Jump Gunners
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: NerdRage Studios
Publisher: NerdRage Studios
Release date: PC and Xbox One: Out Now, PS4/Switch: TBD
tl;dr: Super Meat Boy with guns
Price: $12.99 / £9.99 (across all platforms)
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Jump Gunners has been developed by NerdRage Studios; a one-man indie studio located in the UK. James Stone quit a career of over 22 years in IT in order to focus on making games. Stone is also looking to forward his love for game making to his son as the latter helped with making NerdRage Studios’ debut title.

Jump Gunners is a 2D multiplayer-centric game where players have to kill other players in order to win the match. The game’s main focus of play is doing some multiplayer chaos with friends. They’ll have the chance to choose a handful of familiar MP experiences such as Classic Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, Capture The Flag and Custom Battle. The game creates fast and crazy action mostly because it’s a one hit kill scenario which can make matches last about a minute.

Thankfully, if you’re like me and more of a solo player, there’s a sliver of content to keep you entertained for a (very) short time. Solo players can at least play classic and team deathmatch with crazy accurate bots. Otherwise, there’s a handful of solo dedicated mode for players to enjoy. There’s Challenge mode where players tackle one crazy challenge after the other which is as batshit crazy as the previous one. Then there’s Turkey hunt which is essentially a love song to the classic Nintendo game Duck Hunt; right down to the score and laughing dog. And then there’s Horde mode; it’s quite self-explanatory: face wave after wave of enemies until you die.

So how does the gameplay stack up? It’s fine, if not without its problems. Despite being a 2D shooter, the game uses the mechanics of a twin-stick shooter with the right joystick being used to aim up and down, which makes the game harder than it has any right to be. Players move with the left joystick while aiming with the right one and firing through the trigger buttons. Unfortunately, it’ll be the environments that cause more deaths than enemies – human or bots. Trying to control and aim at the same time with the joysticks can lead to more accidental deaths; even more so when trying to access higher ground when shooting your weapons downward.

But you do have the chance to make things more difficult for the opposition; players can destroy part of the environment thanks to vast array of weapons such as grenades, Sniper Rifles, Flamethrowers, Rocket Launchers, Gauss Rifles; just to name a few which at least brings some variety to the game.

Presentation is a strong suit for Jump Gunners. The game is a love letter to a simpler time: the 8-Bit era. Each of the playable heroes have a distinct pixel of a different colour which make them distinguishable. Problem is when playing multiplayer, the camera is so far from the action it’s very easy to lose track of where you are – which given the kill or be killed style of game JumpGunners is, you’ll end up dying from a bout of “Where was I?”.

Sound is the game’s best quality. The game is full of nostalgia and I couldn’t help but chuckle and be remembered of old times when I heard the Duck Hunt track in Turkey Hunt. Each level has its own distinct sound and it hits that sweet nostalgia note like a charm. If I could, I’d leave the game running only with the music.

Unfortunately, Jump Gunners gets a massive pass from me. While the visual and audio presentation is a love letter to a classic gaming, the game is very thin content-wise. Whether it be the boring solo content and multiplayer mayhem, the game has a very limited appeal. I can see multiplayer parties taking a break from AAA games with this title, but don’t expect this to provide all night multiplayer fun.

The Good

  • Fast paced multiplayer fun with friends
  • Interesting variety of weapons

The Bad

  • Lack of mission/”story” mode
  • Feels shallow and limited on content

Family Focus

Jump Gunners is rated E10+ and PEGI7 due to the presence of cartoon violence and blood.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a review code provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.