A simple yet challenging platformer made by Rohan Narang. With music and graphics that can be considered a nod to the retro games. With various mechanisms to reach the end of each level, this game can provide hours of entertainment.
Jack N’ Jill is a one-button retro platformer. Take control of Jack or Jill, jumping (or wall jumping) to get past obstacles and enemies. Your goal is to find your other half while wandering all 7 worlds. There are 20 levels in each world, making it a total of 140 levels.
As you start the game, you can choose between Jack or Jill by selecting one in the lower left corner. By default, it lets you play as Jack. When entering the first level, you get a small tutorial about how to play this game. Tap to start a level and delve into a fun, yet simple game. Like the popular game “Geometry Dash”, repeatedly press your screen to keep the moving Jack alive. As you progress, the difficulty rises, introducing complex combo-jumps you learn by repetition. For example, as soon as you start the second world, you gain the ability to wall jump. Each time something new appears, the character comments on it before the start of the level. Sadly, the unlocked abilities can’t be used at earlier levels.
While the gameplay seems simple, it is not always forgiving. It starts off easy, but soon you notice that the timing has to be a lot more precise than you expect. Sometimes you need to press the jump button way before you reach the pit. Another time you need to press it at the last moment. You can’t really determine what you have to do by looking at the level. This makes many parts of the adventure very unforgiving, as when you die due to this, you have to start the stage all over again. Thankfully, the developers were more forgiving when hopping off of enemies. You have a larger window to press the screen again to jump the full distance again instead of half the distance. If you managed to wait for the last moment, you even can jump further than possible. There are no uses for that, but it makes it a bit more manageable.
The graphics remind us of the Gameboy days. The black and white style with the simple character design is a tribute to that beautiful handheld device. The backgrounds are also very simple and not in the least distracting. In fact, if you focus on the game itself, you hardly notice it. The main characters could have been a lot more unique, but the simple design of them really works well with the retro theme.
While the game is fun, and the gameplay good, the music itself is repetitive. Each world has their own music, but all of them seem to consist of the same parts in it, with some other instruments giving variation to the world music. For short sessions, it seems fine, but if you play it for more than 30 minutes, it gets annoying. When you keep dying, you keep hearing the music go on and on, always cheerful. It does not really capture the retro feeling we suspect they were going for. The 8-bit era had games with better music, which is a shame since this is where they could have shown their love for the game.
The games of Rohan Narang are mostly inspired by old Gameboy and NES titles, and this game really shows his love for those titles. We find the characters cute and charming, and this game is no different. However, in contrast to the old Gameboy games, the music of this game is below average quality. The best way to enjoy this game is by turning the music off and listening to old Gameboy platformer OST’s while enjoying your simple adventure.