Donkey Kong 2: Jumpman Returns
Firstly, this game separates the old from the young gamers: if you were surprised that Donkey Kong isn’t the protagonist in this game, you’re of younger blood. The premise here is that Kong has kidnapped Pauline (a poor man’s Princess Peach). You must rescue her by doing what Mario knows best: platforming your way into and then out of trouble.
This flash-tinged foray into gaming’s past has virtually identical gameplay when compared to the original arcade version (though this time it isn’t encased in a gigantic machine and kept behind a thick wall of glass). Controls are as simple as gaming gets: Left and Right arrows allow you to move in the corresponding directions, with the Up arrow or Spacebar allowing you to jump. It’s that simple. However, just because the game is arranged from simple ingredients, doesn’t mean that the resulting product is an easy ride.
Simple, But Far from Easy
On the contrary, your experience is likely to be far from easy, owed to the deceptively tricky nature of old-school arcade games. The platform genre has move on a lot since the times of Donkey Kong, but this lovely flashed-up window into the past allows you to relive the difficulty of avoiding various objects, obstacles, and enemies that are roaming on the platforms as you attempt to make your way up the multitude of ladders to get to the top of each level. This is where the “Jumpman” in the title becomes relevant, since you’ll be doing a lot of carefully-timed jumping if you’re going to be successful.
You may find yourself becoming somewhat frustrated along the way, since you start with the classic 3-lives system and just one touch from an enemy or obstacle (ranging from flaming ghosts to rolling barrels) will cause you to lose one of these.
You’ll find yourself picking up the occasional power-up or 1UP of course, with the latter being self-explanatory and the former consisting largely of a temporary hammer-like object that lets you bash the enemies and objects on the level into submission. Be careful, though, since the moment your hammer power-up expires you become vulnerable to enemies again, and the longer you’re on a level the more enemies will start making their way down the platforms to you.
A Timeless Game of Careful Timing
Stripped down to its bare essentials, this is a platform game that is all about timing. Whether it’s the timing of your journey up the next ladder, or the timing of your jumping, to the timing of picking up your power-ups. It’s all about getting it right as often as you can, as getting it wrong will lead to massive frustration.
In terms of design, Donkey Kong 2: Jumpman Returns is a typical of one of the many flash games found at balloon monkey game that gets the Donkey Kong style spot on. The pixelated style is virtually identical to the original arcade version of Donkey Kong, and the sounds are also replicated very well. Its selection of levels is also quite impressive, offering four extra levels that also aren’t in the original game. More than anything, though, Jumpman Returns is all about being thrust into the past if you’re a long-term gamer. If not, then it’s a window into simpler times that you might well end up enjoying.