Jump Beard (JB) is a 2D platformer built on the Unity engine. JB is all about jumping; timing jumps, positioning before jumping, and gauging how long to hold the jump key down before release. JB has a sort of ricochet or bouncing that causes jumps to rebound upwards or down, depending on vertical velocity. It is a modest looking game with simple controls, but the difficulty on the easiest setting is pretty close to impossible for the average player. That is, JB will put patience to the test on the first level. The graphics look hand-drawn for the most part, but that doesn’t really detract from the game itself.
JB has very few options, the sound and music can be volume adjusted. There is a drunk effect toggle that seems to have no impact on the game play. Full screen can be toggled on and off. There doesn’t appear to be any save game mode, although there is a continue option. So, it is possible to continue from wherever the player last quit the game. The keys cannot be remapped and are not explained anywhere. There is no tutorial of any kind or instructions; the developer assumes that the player understands what the goal of the game is and how to play.
The game play for JB appears to be limited to left/right movement and pressing the space bar to jump. Jumping power is determined by how long the space bar is held down and is indicated by a bottle moving left to right at the bottom of the screen. In an upwards trajectory, the player will rebound upwards off walls or platform edges. This causes some cascading style jumps as the character bounces upwards off of fixed objects. Movement is very touchy. In a few key locations it may be necessary to move just a little bit to ‘step down’ to a lower position before a critical jump. This will often result in simply falling off and back down to the bottom.
JB is themed as a pirate setting, the player being complete with a parrot and a peg leg. The very name Jump Beard appears to be a riff on Blackbeard. Although the theme is pirates, it’s hard to fathom why a pirate theme was chosen. Ultimately JB is about jumping up to the next level instead of the typical left to right platform game play, and this is admittedly somewhat unique. However, Jump Beard is overly difficult from the start, having damnable iteration. Jump Beard is as hard as any of the hardest platformers ever made. The difference is that the player doesn’t die, they just relive the same jumps over and over. This game is not recommended for the average gamer; only players looking to raise their blood pressure should entertain purchasing this game.