What is Jump Stars?
Providing plenty of punchy multiplayer fun, Jump Stars is a mini-game powered party game that lets 2-4 players join in with the fun on one console. With simple controls (all you really have to do is move, and punch your fellow players if need be!), it's up to you to jump, dive, and platform your way to success, as you attempt to survive a bizarre gameshow that's hosted by a slightly mental cardboard box.
How do you play Jump Stars?
With 25 stages in total, the mini-games here are divided into 10 different types - some of which require a lot of team work, while others actively discourage it. From Tailspin, which sees you leaping over a rotating arm, which slowly gets faster and faster; to Hunger Pains, which leaves your box-y character rapidly thinning, and asks you to compete with your teammates in a race to eat the pies that are scattered around the stage in order to stay alive, every mini-game here is a question of survival - the longer you last, the more points you'll be able to earn.
While each of the 10 mini-game types offers a different kind of challenge, there are a few concepts that stay the same across them all. The first is that almost every stage contains a number of coloured pads - when these pads light up in the same colour as your character, it's up to you to rush to them as fast as you can, and stand on them, in order to collect the all important points. The more points you collect, the better you'll do - but if you start to do too well, the game will do its best to try and make everyone's job harder. If you see a random card pop up on screen, that's a sign that something major is about to change - depending on what the card shows, a modifier will suddenly become active, which could invert your controls, flip the screen, make the ground act like ice, or massively boost your character's speed - each of which has the potential to scupper you if you're not paying close attention!
How easy is Jump Stars to pick up and play?
With simple controls (all you need to do is run, jump, and punch your opponents/friends), Jump Stars is pretty easy to get to grips with - although you may have to have a trial run on each type of mini-game before you truly understand what you're supposed to be doing. As a game that simply challenges you to see how long you can survive, it's impossible to really "lose" at the game - everyone who's playing is going to die at some point, it's just a question of when. While there is an emphasis on reactions, meaning you'll need to be nimble fingered if you want to do well, everyone should be able to pick up Jump Stars and have a good go.
For the youngest of players, a reading ability isn't really a requirement here, although it would certainly help. The instructions for each mini-game are delivered through a series of brief bullet points, accompanied by a rough illustration of what you need to do - but even if you don't fully follow from the picture alone, each mini-game is easy enough to figure out on your own once you get going. With just 10 different types of game, if younger players don't get what they're doing, it won't be too hard for an older sibling/friend/parent to explain, either.
Sample sentences include:
- Jump up through a maze of platforms
- The stage will move faster and faster
- Don't be at the bottom.
- While Jump Stars has support for 2-4 players, it's worth bearing in mind that the game doesn't actually let people play on their own. With no single player mode, and no computer controlled opponents to go up against, this is a game designed exclusively for local multiplayer fun, with a minimum of two players required, each using their own controller.
With nothing in the way of bad language, violence or sex, Jump Stars is free of mature content.
Format Reviewed: PC