Thanks to Ratalaika Games for the review code
Title: Jack N Jill DX
Release Date: 09/25/2018
Jack N Jill DX continues the never ending trend of pixel art nostalgic throwbacks that flood the market and do little to stand out from a presentation standpoint. Unfortunately, despite basing the presentation off of the monochromatic colors that you would see on a Game Boy Pocket, (with the cute character designs reminding me of Kirby’s Dream Land and Trip World) the overall look feels incredibly generic, and some of the sound effects I swear were ripped directly from early Game Boy games such as Alleyway and Super Mario Land. The menus are at least very simple to navigate, but I really wish the developers put a lot more effort into the Game Boy throwbacks and added a lot more accuracy to the presentation.
Jack N Jill DX is a platformer where you take control of Jack as he automatically moves through a stage in order to reach his friend, Jill at the end of each one, collecting as many coins as he can along the way while also dodging enemies and spikes that can kill him, some pretty standard rules for a platformer. Since you can’t even move your character once he starts to move on his own, the only control you have at all is your jump, which can also be held down in order to jump higher off of springs and enemies you land on. If you run into a wall, you’ll automatically turn around, and eventually you’ll even be able to wall jump if you run into one in mid-air.
Each world consists of twenty levels, and they all tend to feel pretty basic, even after the initial set of tutorial levels, since the levels are all simple point A to point B progression with barely any reason to go after the coins in the stages. You see, once you complete a world or fulfill other in-game objectives, you’ll be able to spend the coins you’ve accumulated over your journey in a mini game, the first one being one where you must help one of the enemies jump from one side of the screen to the other in order to get shop tickets.
These aforementioned shop tickets are your actual currency in the game, since the coins are only used to play the minigames you unlock for a chance at getting these tickets. The more tickets you save, the more you’ll have for unlocking cosmetic costumes for Jack and Jill to wear during the stages. They don’t really have a point to them outside of looking cute, so if you simply want to get through the main game without worrying about the minigame or costumes, you don’t even need to bother with them! To be perfectly honest, after unlocking a cute beanie I felt as if I already had my fill of the costumes and didn’t even bother playing the minigames again, which is not a good sign when the main game itself is something I didn’t bother playing after a the first two worlds, either.
In conclusion, Jack N Jill DX is an incredibly dull and generic autorunner, with little on offer or engagement, and nothing gripping or addictive about it at all. While the monochromatic presentation may seem neat from a screenshot, the actual game just bored me to death, and to make matters worse, the PSN achievements are insanely easy, only requiring that you play the first world to 100% completion along with the first minigame in order to get the platinum.
This is especially baffling considering how there’s actually a lot more in-game achievements that cover the remaining worlds and all other bases of the game, so why they didn’t use that list for the PSN trophies, I have no idea, but it feels like just as much of a low effort as the premise itself. There are many, many, many other retro throwbacks available at the same pricer or lower, and you’re likely to get more enjoyment out of those games than you will with Jack N Jill DX.
I give Jack N Jill DX a 3 out of 10.