Jump Stars Preview
It’s about time a title like Jump Stars entered our midst. It’s the first of its kind on Xbox One, but certainly not an Xbox first. Some of you may remember the classic original Xbox title Fuzion Frenzy? Or maybe its sequel on the Xbox 360? This is the nearest you will get to it on Xbox One, and this title sure is a blast.
Set out in a wacky TV Show style, up to four players control little lovable blockheads jumping, pushing and dropping your way across a series of frantic mini-games to become the TV show champ and take away that coveted pointless trophy. The only downside to this title is there are no AI players in this game, or at least in this preview anyway. However, the full release will include both local and online play. The two modes that were available during this preview was Tournament and My Show.
In the Tournament mode, up to four players can compete in a four randomly selected mini-games to come out on top. Each mini-game requires you to earn points that are collectively collected and dished out, determined by whoever lasts the longest. First place gets 40%, second place gets 30%, third place gets 20% and last place gets just 10% of the total score accumulated. However, individual scores can be acquired in each of the mini-games by walking across your coloured platform that randomly appears throughout the game, which then gets added to your total score during the intermission between each mini-game. If you somehow manage to score at least 1500 points on each of the four mini-games, you all get to enter The Gauntlet which has you working together with your competitors to navigate a course of obstacles and traps, with only one player coming out on top. Depending on how many players there are and how long each player lasts in a given mini-game, this mode can last anywhere between 20-45 minutes. The other mode, My Show, allows you to select up to nine of the 25 total mini-games on offer to play in any order and works the same way as the tournament mode minus The Gauntlet at the end (which can be included as one of those mini-games if you so desire).
In fact there are only ten unique mini-games available with the majority having a variations of the games, mainly set in different locations but some having different map layouts. For example one of the mini-games Hunger Pains, sees you collecting as many pies as possible to stay chunky. If you go skinny, you’re on the verge of losing. We played three different variations of this mini-game, with each one having different-sized maps to jump around on, some taking longer to reach the pies, whereas another map you could easily jump from one end of the map to the other to reach the pies.
Other mini-games include TNT Tag in which one player starts off with a dynamite strapped to their back and all you need to do is pass it on to another player before it explodes. Stomp sees you enclosed with the other players on four connecting platforms where a giant cylinder will slam down on one of the platforms and all you need to do is avoid being squished. One of our personal favourites and one that might seem familiar to Fuzion Frenzy fans is a mini-game called Calamity. In this mini-game, there is a rotating platform swinging round, gradually increasing speed and all you need to do is jump over it without falling off the edge of the screen.
To keep things interesting, the shows host will throw out a card every so often during any mini-game that switches up gameplay for all the players. Whether you’re moving at the pace of a tortoise or jumping at the speed of light, it’s sure to throw a few laughs your way and some inadvertent deaths!
All of the mini-games in Jump Stars are fun to play but are let down by the minimal amount of mini-games actually on offer. Hopefully there will be more additions to the collection, with huge potential for DLC, otherwise we can see this getting stale quickly. That’s just the way these genre’s go unfortunately. We will see once it is officially released sometime around the end of this month.
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