Originally released as a mobile title Jack ‘n Jill DX is an upgraded version of a five year old game. Ported to the Vita (and PS4, Switch and PC) by Ratalaika, here’s our look at the version for Sony’s handheld.
Jack ‘n Jill is an extremely simple platformer – but almost deceptively so because it’s definitely not easy. Playing (initially) as Jack, you have to reach your lovely Jill in each one of the game’s many levels (there’s well over 100 of them). It’s a platformer, but you won’t even need the thumbsticks or directional controls for this one – instead, timing your jumps is what matters.
Pressing once starts Jack running, subsequent presses make him jump. In between, he’ll just keep moving forward until he hits a wall – which is when he turns around. Of course, that’s not all there’s to it. You’re gradually introduced to dangers like pits and spikes, and the option of taking alternate routes to get to Jill. The game’s designed well in this sense – gradually introducing new gameplay elements into the mix, like the ability to wall-jump.
The game’s mobile roots are easy to see – both in terms of its simplicity and its control scheme. It’s an addictive little time waster though, as most levels won’t take more than a few handfuls of seconds to complete once you figure out the ideal route. With a ton of content (there are also small minigames to compete in and an in-game shop), you’re certainly getting a lot of gameplay for a budget price as well (even though the mobile version is – as always – still cheaper).
I need to address something that the game addresses extremely quickly as well though – trophies. I know it’s a bit of a thing with Ratalaika’s ports, but I got three gold trophies for just completing the first level and was done with the platinum after as little as ten minutes. If you dig trophies, then this is your game even if you don’t care about the genre – double the pleasure if you also have a PS4, because it’s a cross-buy with a split trophy list.
It felt like a bit of a shame for me though, because I can see a lot of people just grabbing the game for the trophies and then ignoring the rest of the content – since you can unlock the platinum after completing just one out of seven worlds. There are still in-game achievements you can go for, but there are no more rewards in terms of trophies for getting them.
If you enjoy a nice little casual platformer (that can get tricky!) then Jack ‘n Jill is a budget-priced option for whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Rocking a retro look and sound, it also scratches that nostalgic itch with its monochromatic visuals and catchy NES-era style tunes. It’s not going to set the platforming world on fire, but it’s cute and can be enjoyed in short bursts.