Puzzle games come in many variations, especially digital ones. There are digital representations of classics such as word searches, Picross, and crosswords, and there are games which invent their own puzzles through the use of a narrative adventure or immersive action game. Jump, Step, Step is quite unique as it’s not a game based upon a physical puzzle, it’s a game in which you ‘program’ the robotic protagonist and then watch as he performs the actions you gave him, hoping you’ve not accidentally set him into an infinite loop!
Developed by Phung Games, ported by Catness Game Studios, and published by Hidden Trap, Jump, Step, Step has been out for a while on both the Xbox One and Steam but it arrived on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch today in the EU, last week in NA. I’ve played through the game twice and thoroughly enjoyed the logic-based gameplay which is sure to test anyone – especially if you’re going for the ‘no death’ trophy. So, let’s take a look at this innovative game and see what it’s all about…
You are in control of Bob the bot. Bob is a robot who has awoken on a strange planet with no memory of how or why he is here. There’s another problem, he seems to have lost all of his limbs – talk about having a bad day! Although Bob has his own AI, providing you with countless quirky comments throughout his journey, he’s not the brightest – he would literally roll off a cliff if given the chance, just to see if he can fly… So, as the superior being, it’s up to you to issue commands in order to get him from point A to B, unharmed.
However, it’s not as easy at it sounds as you can only program in commands which will get him to his next destination. If you don’t give him enough direction then he will stop and reset his current progress, so you have to pre-determine and plan pathways which go from simple to rather advanced. Also, the number of commands you can give him is limited so you need to take advantage of loops and ‘what if’ sequences in order to maximise the actions he can make while taking into account all variables the surrounding environment presents.
The journey to collect all of your limbs and the scattered parts to repair your ship won’t be an easy one. Some puzzles will require trial and error and some you’ll need to step back and logically play out the events in your head before you push ‘go’ and watch as Bob mindlessly does what you’ve told him to. With 42 stages, Jump, Step, Step isn’t the longest game out there, taking an hour or two to complete without a guide, but it’s a unique puzzle game which you should certainly check out – it even has a platinum trophy.
So, how do you actually play Jump, Step, Step? If you’ve ever played Human Resource Machine on PC or Mobile, the core gameplay is very similar. Instead of directly controlling the actions in real-time, you have to pre-plan all of the actions the protagonist will take before you hit ‘go’. At first, you only have actions like moving forward and turning but once you’ve found various limbs, you’ll soon be able to jump, pick up things, and smash objects. So, the further into the game you get, the more advanced the commands will become as you’ll have to figure out exactly which actions you should take against certain obstacles and hazards.
To further enhance the difficulty and logic-thinking required, you’ll unlock variable commands, ones which you can set based upon certain criteria. For example, you can program the actions Bob will take based upon what direction he’s facing (for platforms which spin him around to a random direction), and even plan out what he’ll do if he can walk forward or if he can’t, in order to stop him walking off the edge of the world. Although some of the solutions look quite complicated and can be a little intimidating, it’s a great experience for those interested in coding and solving puzzles which require more logical thinking than other puzzle games out there.
As an extra bonus, once you’ve completed all 42 stages, you’ll unlock the ‘Direct Control’ option within the menu. This, as you’d expect, allows you to replay the game without setting commands as you now have direct control over Bob by using the Left Thumb Stick and the D-pad.
Jump, Step, Step is a very pretty game. It’s not the most realistic or graphically-intense game out there, but it’s very colourful and the art direction the developers opted for works really well within this format. They’ve also made the interface and overall gameplay really simple to use – no complicated menus or processes. All you do is simply pick the commands from a list of self-explanatory icons and then watch as the hypnotic hunk of steel plays it out.
The dialogue throughout the game is also quite fun, having Bob constantly talking and replying to, what I presume is, our own internal AI talking back to him. There is also an ‘alternative dialogue’ option within the menu which changes the things which are said – to make replaying the game seem different. I chuckled a few times at the banter which these two entities provided throughout the journey, especially towards the end.
The music is very relaxing and helps you concentrate on the puzzles at hand. You can even enable or disable ambient noises – mainly bird sounds – to further enhance the atmosphere or reduce it if you possibly have a fear of birds, or feel like they’re mocking you for being unable to solve a puzzle!
Jump, Step, Step is a fun logic-based programming puzzle game which is sure to challenge people of all ages. The colourful nature of the game and simple controls means that everyone can play it without fear of being overwhelmed or confused by the more advanced solutions towards the end of the game. I’ve personally not seen a game like this on the PS4 so far, so if you’re looking for a unique puzzle game to eat away an hour or two of your time, you can’t go wrong with this cheap adventure.
As a side note, if you buy Jump, Step, Step on the PS4, you also get a free dynamic theme.
Jump, Step, Step£3.99
- - Fun and thought-provoking logical programming puzzles
- - Very colourful and cute aesthetics
- - The banter throughout the game is amusing
- - Although a complicated concept, the game is simple enough for people of all ages to enjoy
- - Quite unlike anything I've seen for a while
- - At around one to two hours in length, I would have liked more (although the price is super cheap)
- - The free-movement mode is a great idea but the game is isometric, so the controls are a little fiddly at first