Mr. Run and Jump – PS5 Review 1

You might think Mr. Run and Jump is another rehash of an Atari 2600 game. You’d be partially right, barring the fact that it was made in 2021 by a chap at Graphite Lab rather than in 1981 as the graphics might suggest. In fact, it even got a limited physical release on a 2600 cartridge. Rather than being a faithful reproduction, this on PS5 starts with an intro where the limited moveset and traversal mechanics of the 2600 version are replicated. Your dog Leap has an annoying habit of running off so it’s down to you to run after him for reasons that remain unclear.

After you catch Leap at the end of the introductory stage, you get sucked into a wormhole where the screen cracks and you’re pulled through into the Realms of Colour. It’s at this point that the graphical style becomes that much more vivid, bringing to mind another Graphite Lab game Kombinera as well as Terry Cavanagh’s VVVVVV.

Each realm has three levels and a void challenge level to follow up where you’ll put your newly learned skills to use. The first level in the Violet Realm is a tame enough introduction to Mr. Run and Jump’s basic mechanics, though you’ll still struggle to negotiate certain sections even in the first level. These sections are demarcated by a glowing red entrance and you’ll be called upon to put your skills to the test and collect a challenge orb. There are three of these per level as well as one shattered orb.

For this you’ll have to collect each of the individual fragments in the levels. This is straightforward enough to begin with, but the only way to mop up those off the beaten track is to use advanced techniques. We say advanced, for us at least they were a bridge too far even by the second level.

Thankfully it’s the school holidays so we could get our kid’s perspective on Mr. Run and Jump. He’s actually quite good at it as it puts his twitch gaming skills to work that he’s refined on countless runs of Geometry Dash on PC. He’s fair more amenable to playing a section over and over trying to nail a difficult sequence. Us, not so much. Though we do appreciate the loose checkpoints that kick in when you go from one screen to another. It means you don’t have to replay lengthy sections and mop up the collectibles over and again.

After you’ve completed the third level of each set, you’ll face a void level. Think of a left to right scrolling level from Super Mario World. Only the path you have to negotiate is labyrinthine and full of hazards. Not even the toughest levels in SMW taxed us like the void level. We somehow managed to get past the Violet Realm void level and hence unlock the Blue Realm, but we remain stuck on the blue void level despite having made fair progress.

In addition to the standard mode and void levels, you can replay each level in time trial mode. This is a lot of fun and refreshingly doesn’t insist you get all the collectibles. Though in our first attempt to nail a par time, we came up a tenth of a second short and each successive attempt was slower still.

We pretty much gave up on trying to collect all the shattered orb fragments in a level on our first playthrough, though a little annoyingly you have to collect them all in a single run through a level. It’d be nice if some of the more exacting gauntlets saved your progress, particularly the void chase levels. Sod trying to get the collectibles on those. It’d be better if it saved the collectibles you already had at the end of a completed run. As it is, we’re unlikely to manage them as we struggle enough to stay alive without hoovering up everything.

What’d also be nice would be if you could save and quit after a checkpoint and carry on where you left off. We’ve learned to our cost never to rely on the PS5’s suspend status, all it takes is one system update for your progress to go up in smoke.

In conclusion, Mr. Run and Jump is a fun platformer with a lot of replay value. Just don’t be surprised if you suddenly hit a brick wall with regard to progress having done well until that point. Add a point if you’ve a kid who loves this sort of thing too, just the thing to occupy them over the school holidays.

Mr. Run and Jump
7 Overall
+ Fantastic vivid graphical style with lots of neon effects
+ Excellent traversal mechanics
+  A whole lot of replay value
- Challenge ramps up rapidly
- You can’t save and quit mid-level
- Collectible runs have to be done in a single run
Mr. Run and Jump is a lot of fun in the right circumstances but if you’re longer in the tooth like us you might struggle. Though if you’re a veteran of VVVVVV and other challenge gauntlet type games, this is right in your wheelhouse. We liked it but our kid did more as he has the patience to replay a level over and again.

About Ian

Ian likes his games weird. He loves his Vita even if Sony don't anymore. He joined the PS4 party relatively late, but has been in since day one on PS5.

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