HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewJumanji: Wild Adventures Review

Jumanji: Wild Adventures Review

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It’s decidedly uncool to like the Jumanji movies, particularly the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson ones. But we love them anyway in our house – they’re comfort movies. A large part of that love comes from the body-swapping. There’s something deeply funny to see The Rock pretending to be an old man, and Jack Black being possessed by a self-obsessed teen. At least, we think so. 

With Jumanji: Wild Adventures, it’s OUR turn to hop into The Rock. We’ve had the privilege once before with Jumanji: The Video Game, Outright Games’ first attempt at bringing the film series to our screen, but now we’re getting another chance to slip on his skin (too much?). Development has shifted from Funsolve Ltd to Cradle Games (makers of Hellpoint), but the intention is much the same: get four players onto one game screen, and watch the anarchy unfold as you all try to reach the end of combat, platform and puzzle-filled levels.

Much like the first game, this is improved three- or four-times by playing in multiplayer. Honestly, remove a half-mark from the score if you plan to play this solo. Jumanji: Wild Adventures is one of those games where the flaws come into sharper focus once there’s only one of you. 

jumanji wild adventures review 1
The Jumanji gang are off on some Wild Adventures

The story is so bare bones that we wondered which of Jumanji’s creatures nibbled the flesh. It’s the plot of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but the Jumanji gem has been stolen by – drum roll – they don’t know. That’s right, the baddie is TBD. You have to play on to find out who has it, and – big clue here – it’s not the first couple of factions you check on. 

There’s another wee disappointment in the character select. Now, we didn’t expect to be able to play as Cyclone the Wonderhorse, but we did think that Jumanji: Wild Adventures might expand to include Ming Fleetfoot and Seaplane McDonagh. Considering that there are four potential players and only four characters to pick from, it’s a shame that there wasn’t much choice. It means, of course, that there are fights over Smoulder and Ruby. 

Then it’s into the mission-select which is, somewhat bizarrely, done from within a Jeep. Player One gets to drive around the 3D world of Jumanji in a car, while the rest of the team watches on. Which is obviously pants. There’s no joy to be had in watching Player One constantly driving up and down ramps in an effort to get a treasure chest, and Jumanji: Wild Adventures could have put in something – anything – to make it entertaining for the larger crowd. But there are breadcrumbs leading to the next unlocked level, so you can just kick the driver in the ankle and tell them to go there. 

The format of the levels themselves hasn’t changed much since Jumanji: The Video Game, but they’re more sprawling, more entertaining and, most importantly, filled with cinematic moments. It feels like a true sequel in that sense: while the same enemies and background art have been re-used from the original, the saved effort has been spent on leveling up the, um, level design. 

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The jungle drums…

What that means is a barreling sense of ‘what is going to happen next?’, which is on-point for the modern Jumanji series. In the movies, all the Jumanji players can do is react to what the game throws at them, and that’s very much the case here. Turn a corner and you can be riding a raft down rapids, confronting a giant cobra, or sliding around an arena made of ice. There’s a fantastic sense of ‘anything goes’ in Jumanji: Wild Adventures, and we left the game impressed with how varied these Wild Adventures felt. This didn’t feel like a game that was artificially grinding out play-time, trying to get you playing for that little bit longer. It respected our time and chucked out new experience after new experience. 

That’s true of collectibles, too. Our family is a frustrating mix of Leeroys, running to the exit as fast as they can, and Collectors, trying to find every last thing. If you manage to find a group of like minded individuals then congratulations: there are Jumanji letters, gems, outfits and loads of other collectibles to find in the undergrowth. We had to look longingly at them as our youngest jumped off a cliff and triggered the next section. 

We were surprised at how welcoming Jumanji: Wild Adventures is for younger players. Our youngest is five, and she’s the most vocal about playing, so clearly loves it. There are plenty of difficulty settings, which affect large swathes of the game including lives and hearts. Get lost off the back of the screen, which is all too common, and a New Super Mario Bros-style bubble appears around the character, whisking them to the front of the group for someone to pop. Combat, too, is nothing more than a mashing of the X button, while the puzzles and platforms are all lightweight. Very few require more than one coordinated player, so younger tykes can just wander where they want. We would advise that an adult is Player One, however: they are the one that the camera focuses on, so having one in control is wise. 

All of these have a counterpoint, of course. If you’re a solo player who’s looking for a bit of depth or challenge to their Jumanji experience, then this isn’t the game for you. Puzzles are rarely anything more than ‘find the key’ or ‘hit the switch’. Combat has as much depth and range as Dwayne Johnson’s acting. You press X and maybe RB if you have a power-up. There’s very little that’s bad or egregious about Jumanji: Wild Adventures, but there’s absolutely zero innovation or depth. You’re going to coast through it, and your enjoyment is dependent on whether that’s a positive. 

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You’ll have much more fun as a foursome

We couldn’t shake the feeling that Jumanji: Wild Adventures was, well, a little shaggy around the edges either. As much as we loved the four-player experience, there are moments that made us tut and wish it had a little more refinement. There are enemies that hover or hang from trees, yet the jump-attack is painfully inaccurate. We had the whole team dancing around hanging baboons in an effort to kill them. The ledge-grab feels inconsistent, too. We could go whole levels thinking how generous and well done the grab was, only for another level to include platforms that seemed covered in baby oil. 

At least to our eyes, there’s very little visual improvement over Jumanji: The Video Game, either. It’s not a bad-looking game, as it crams models into the game screen to make a bustling world. But sometimes the lack of quality trumps the large quantity. A dead-eyed Smoulder stares back at you, or graphical glitches cause textures to melt off cliff-sides. 

There’s a red-pill, blue-pill choice with Jumanji: Wild Adventures. If you’re a solo, older player who loves the series and wants to immerse themselves in the world of Jumanji, you might find this to be too simplistic and ramshackle. Take that red pill and eject out. But if you’re a family of Jumanji fans, and have two or more players to dance-fight with? Take the blue pill and have a cracking time.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Stuffed with content
  • Levels barely ever sit still
  • Great in four-player co-op
Cons:
  • Solo is less satisfying
  • Not much has improved since the first game
  • Plenty of gameplay quirks
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Outright Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch
  • Release date and price - 3 November 2023 | £34.99
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Stuffed with content</li> <li>Levels barely ever sit still</li> <li>Great in four-player co-op</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Solo is less satisfying</li> <li>Not much has improved since the first game</li> <li>Plenty of gameplay quirks</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Outright Games</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch <li>Release date and price - 3 November 2023 | £34.99</li> </ul>Jumanji: Wild Adventures Review
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