Jump Trials Extreme
DSiWare | G-STYLE | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 200 Nintendo Points
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9th January 2013; By KnucklesSonic8
In case you missed out on what Jump Trials had to offer, Jump Trials Extreme follows directly after the first game in tasking players with guiding a stick figure across platforms to a button that will mark the end of a level. This must all be accomplished within a 10-second time frame, which may well sound mad or improbable for anyone with slippery fingers. But be assured the design of each level is in close company with the focus on speed, making for a well-formatted and sightly execution. Don't feel bad about not knowing about the first game, though, as it wasn't particularly great, suffering from faults resting with its design. How does the sequel perform, then, in the same department? Much better, I have to say.
The first thing to address is whether or not the game even earns its "extreme" label. I can tell you now that character movement and your method of traversal is the same as before, so if you're expecting a surprise addition of a jetpack, skateboard, or some other add-on for transportation purposes, you're venturing too far off-course for the subtle creativity this game is bent on displaying. Intrinsically, Jump Trials Extreme is, like the title that came before it, of a meticulous nature, with gameplay requiring precision in conjunction with timed jumps. Before, it was a case of meddlesome controls, not helped at all by a considerable number of the designs, which forced players to overcompensate for their actions on a frustratingly common basis. That case of a disconnected exercise isn't true here. While the greatest examples of difficulty and tests of patience begin with the second-last world, it appears as though that in dulling or even erasing these complications, Jump Trials Extreme acts of its own volition in a certain respect and isn't in a desperate need of tweaking.
The major revision to the outworking of the game's design is that to facilitate more elements and deepen the possibilities and the ranges in elevation, stages have become comparatively more roomy and spacious, significantly rectifying concerns from the last game stemming from the ongoing confinement of spaces. Connected to this expansion, some of the attributes of the level designs from the first game have carried over but have seen to much better effectiveness. There are still platforms rotating in the pattern of a Ferris wheel, arrangements of springs, the presence of wind, and spike traps that are either fixed in place or gradually lower over time. But Jump Trials Extreme improves upon each and every one of these elements (i.e., springs with numbers attached to them, vertical winds that affect gravity, spike traps that pop up at intervals), while also adding brand-new mechanics, including balls of electricity and bar-shaped switches.
As was the case before, some stages are designed in such a way that they perpetuate an "easy way out" mentality. But as you move further in the game, you'll find that when there are multiple routes present, this is done intentionally to present risks and are designed with a much better approach than what was evident in the preceding title. Best of all, a good number of the levels present are actually interesting, even clever the odd time. It is to be admitted the game still has its share of levels that aren't designed well, at times requiring running jumps where there is a very, very narrow space for it, or with the position of certain elements causing interference. But the frequency has been greatly lessened and in general there's this portrayal that there's been more refinement in this iteration.
The sequel also does a better job in the matter of presentation, with better music (though some may still find it a wee bit repetitive) and a splash of new colour, and it's great to see the issue of the visual style inciting boredom is no longer an issue. In terms of content, completion of Trials Mode will unlock the EX option, designated for masters of the game. Beyond that, Challenge and Time Attack (a new addition) offer added replay value, once again giving new weight to previously-completed puzzles (albeit the latter feels a tad unnecessary).
No longer greatly hampered by its design, Jump Trials Extreme is a superior successor, achieving quite well with much more care that challenges without doing so over cheap methods or as a result of poor arrangements. Skip the original entirely and jump straight for this. While the sharp increase in difficulty makes the game untouchable to certain age groups and skill sets, those who are of a more patient disposition and welcome a good challenge will be satisfied with the $2 they spend on this compact, yet not-to-be-underestimated title.
22/30 - Good
Gameplay 7/10 - Greatly improved design, better uses existing elements while introducing new ones, spaciousness has rectified previous concerns
Presentation 7/10 - Music is a tad repetitive but more effective than before, colour template and overall style has much more personality
Enjoyment 4/5 - Very challenging but completion is still well within the grasp of someone devoted, some designs still fall to similar traps as before
Extra Content 4/5 - Experts will unlock one final set of stages dedicated just for them, replay value to be found in Challenge Mode especially, good value
Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System