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Android App Review: Lumber Jacked

29 Sep 2014

Lumber Jacked is a side-scrolling platformer in the tradition of Super Mario Bros. or Alex the Kid. It’s a fun, good-looking game, but suffers from a few serious faults.

You play as a lumberjack trying to defeat some beavers that have stolen your logs. But really, the story’s irrelevant with these games – you have to run and jump and punch to get from one side of the screen to the other, and that’s all you need to know.

Lumber Jacked follows the tradition set by old-school games in that it’s pretty difficult – this is a game without a health bar, and any mistake you make means starting the level over again. But on the other hand most enemies can be taken out with one hit, so it’s not too punishing.

Now I’m no expert on video game design but I paid my dues with Mario etc., and so I’m pretty sure – if you’re running forward and you press jump, you jump forward, right? Not so with Lumber Jacked, which bizarrely only lets you jump from standing.

If you’re already running then the jump button does nothing, and so the idea of getting a run-up to add momentum, like you’ve come to expect from every other game in the genre, is missing.

If you’ve never played a video game before then this isn’t any kind of big deal, but anyone with the tiniest of understandings of how platformers work will find it hugely frustrating.

The game is free but every now and then you’ll have to put up with ads in between levels. These don’t come up too often but when they do they feel off-putting and a bit invasive – they’re the fill-the-screen-make-you-wait-before-you-can-skip type ads that have never convinced anyone to click on them but manage to annoy pretty much everyone.

You know the type, and I don’t know why app or website developers continue to think they do anything positive for them or us.

I think the highlight of this game for me was the music. It’s the sort of uplifting midi-rock you remember from your childhood (or from more recent nostalgia throwbacks like the Scott Pilgrim video game) and it does a great job of getting you pumped for jumping around and having adventures.

The game looks good too, with saturated colours and pretty scenery. For a free app this is a good enough game, but it’s not going to challenge any of the titans of the genre.

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