Mr. Run and Jump is a strange release by Atari. Their recent releases have been synthwave-inspired remasters of their famous titles from their hay-day. Mr. Run and Jump (no relation to Mr. Game and Watch) is a remaster of a game that, in 2021, a developer named John Mikula made for the Atari 2600 as a side project.
In fact, in addition to this game here that I’m about to review, you can also get the original version John Mikula made on an Atari 2600 cartridge for $59.99 that’s playable on any working Atari 2600 you can find in 2023.
Much like Celeste, Super Meat Boy, and many others, Mr. Run and Jump offers challenging jumping puzzles. Giving you a roll, dive, double jump all out of the gate, you use them to leap and dodge your way through increasingly difficult puzzles filled with spikes, falling objects, enemies, and more spikes.
The primary thing though that I think sets this game apart, unfortunately is that the risk/reward levels aren’t great. Celeste had a couple times where I felt very frustrated with the puzzles but the rewards were a continuation of a story I enjoyed. Mr. Run and Jump had me spending an embarrassing amount of time on a stage, over and over again on the same screen, simply so I could unlock the next circle on a map.
The other thing that threw me off is that the jumps were TOO tight. Some people might get into that, but there were many points where you could only complete a jump by having your dive hit the perfect angle at just the right time so that your arc adjusted to the subtle change in the little spike filled tunnel you had to squeeze through.
It felt less like I was dying because of errors of my own and instead it just felt like the stages were designed with cruelty over difficulty in mind. To me this made my enjoyment of the game fleeting as it felt like I was struggling to get the character to do what I needed at the right time and instead often made it dive headfirst into a wall of spikes. But to some people, more than likely streamers and speedrunners looking to flex I can see this being a point of pride to them as the game definitely gatekeeps with its difficulty.
Mr. Run and Jump is a pretty interesting looking platformer with some interesting challenges but buyer beware, the difficulty spikes HARD early in the game and never looks back. There is a thing where you can make it so that after a certain amount of fails an invincibility star shows up and allows you invincibility for that screen’s puzzles but it doesn’t allow you to collect anything while you’re doing this so most of the time it feels less like you’re being supported and more like you brought a roller coaster to a complete stop and had to be escorted off because you were too intimidated.
Mr. Run and Jump (Nintendo Switch) Score: 7.5/10
While there is plenty of potential for Mr. Run and Jump to be heralded amongst one of the bigger speed runner titles for it’s challenge and interesting aesthetic, to the average gamer it may be above the average gamers’ paygrade. But for those looking for a speedrunning challenge, Mr. Run and Jump definitely understands the assignment.