Jack N’ Jill DX is a one button 2D platformer created by Rohan’s Games, a solo indie developer who, with the help of Ratalaika Games, ported this platformer over to the Xbox One.
Whilst there is some fun to be had playing through the 140 levels, as well as the few minigames contained within this small priced package ($4.99/£3.99), there is too much neutrality here to really make this title stand-out in any serious way. There is some potential shown within some of the platforming segments, with the one-button jump system a nice design choice to differentiate between the many other 2D platformers. But unfortunately, the experience falls short as the repetitive backgrounds, music, enemies and gameplay mechanics don’t offer enough to satisfy any type of regular gamer.
That being said, those of you who are looking for a game to introduce to others who want to get into gaming, or who love simple, fun and easy-to-solve platformers, then Jack N’ Jill DX might be a game for you to look into. Plus there is plenty of content to engage with considering the low price tag.
You play as Jack or Jill. Finding yourself separated at the beginning of each level, you have to find your other half in order to progress to the next level. Using a one-button interaction system, pressing A will do everything you need in order to complete all 20 levels within each of the 7 worlds.
There is plenty of platforming content for those wanting a more simplistic approach to the traditional 2D platforming style, and one of the best things about this game is the design. Although some levels are too easy and lack any innovation at all, there are others that reward attempts to conquer it over and over, ensuring you need to time jumps correctly in-between different gameplay mechanics. Some of the levels are still simple, but fun enough that going through each is still a joy. Though a joy experienced within a boring world.
The platforming is extremely easy to begin with, teaching you the basics of jumping off walls and on clouds. As you progress through the worlds more gameplay mechanics are introduced to create a larger variety within the levels. You’ll be avoiding floating spikes whilst you’re jumping on enemy heads and flying through a tunnel to finally reach your other half after attempting said feat numerous times before. I commend the design of this game as more often than not it is engaging, though again some of the levels are far too easy for the average gamer to worry about.
There is also no story here – only the sole objective of finding Jack or Jill. While I don’t expect a deep moving tale to be told, some context behind the two characters would’ve provided a nice foundation for the reason for avoiding all of these traps and hard-to-land jumps. A complaint I found quickly was your characters compulsiveness to always say “hmm…” when faced with a slightly more challenging platform segment than usual. Although this leaves time for the gamer to think about how to overcome the opposing challenge, it becomes an annoyance which I quickly wanted to turn off from the options screen. Of course, I couldn’t.
Additionally, the grey colour scheme is too boring to watch, especially after progression through a couple of the worlds. Thankfully, turning to the 7 minigames available throughout allows you the chance to earn enough tickets to buy a different colour scheme.
Some of these minigames are more fun than others – flying to hit balloons after all is more fun than jumping across a bridge – and some are more lucrative… depending on your skills. They are all very basic, but they do allow you to earn tickets which you can use to buy different customization items for both Jack and Jill (some of which are funny and quirky, though they can get in the way to completing levels as your character shape is different), as well as different colour schemes and the ability to unlock the next level if you really are that stuck. That said, I very much doubt you ever will be.
To play a minigame you need 100 coins, which you’ll find through the main platforming levels of the game. There’s no real need to search for them as you’ll find more than enough naturally to complete the game with.
There are ‘challenges’ to complete too, though I use that term loosely as all they seem to do is unlock a picture. Still, for those looking for something to achieve once they’ve completed all 140 levels as well as the mirrored worlds, there are those available. Unfortunately, I don’t see a reason for the mirrored world mode being in place other than to puff out the game since there is no real challenge being introduced from mirroring the worlds; on more than one level you are going in a variety of different directions to reach Jill towards the end of the game anyway.
So, the art style, and this is simple but cute. Nice backgrounds change depending on the world you’re in; warm-feeling protagonist models and fluffy clouds makes this platformer feel like a Saturday morning back when you were a kid. Sadly however, the simplicity is also a negative as the backgrounds are often plain despite the changing appearances. Furthermore, the music, while fitting and catchy, also begins to get on your nerves after a few failed attempts within a hard world.
Speaking of repetitive music, the sound mixing is just plain awful. The volume in general is far too loud, and the sound of rocks breaking is too intense for the game to cope. It sounded like it was going to break my headphones. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
Overall, there is some fun to be had here if you enjoy single-button 2D platformers. It is a simple and repetitive venture, but one which does fulfill its promise of providing fairly fun and engaging platform levels, of which there are plenty. Unfortunately, this experience comes within a plain world which contains repetitive music and bad sound mixing.