Jump or Stay is an intriguing take on the auto-runner. It blends together quick-fire gameplay with a simple puzzling element designed to keep you on your toes.
And that simplicity ensures that you’re always jumping back in for another go, pushing yourself to try and beat a game that feels like it should be eminently conquerable.
You might wander away after a few sessions, but those sessions are going to be some of the most entertaining, and the most frustrating, you’ve had on mobile for a while.
Fishing for compliments
You play a fish in a fish bowl that’s rolling along a series of bi-coloured platforms. You tap on the screen to bounce in the air and that’s the limit of your control.
There are obstacles in your path and you need to leap over them. The twist is that some of the obstacles move, and there’s a colour-coordination trick to understanding which.
If one of the pyramids is sat on a block of its own colour then you need to jump over it. If it’s sat on a block of the other hue then you have to stay on the ground. Jump or stay.
It sounds remarkably easy, but some clever design means that that’s far from the case. And the deeper you get into the experience the harder it gets.
You also need to jump from platform to platform, and collect glowing pick-ups that let you change the type of fish that’s in the bowl.
The collection aspect feels a little bit tacked on, but when the core gameplay is this engaging that doesn’t really matter. Your failures always feel like they’re your fault, and that makes you want to dive back in and set things right.
Plenty of fish
The game isn’t the most interesting looking, but everything is presented in a way that’s easy to understand. And really for an experience of this style, that’s all that matters.
It’s not going to change the way the world thinks about auto-running platformers, and really it couldn’t have picked a worse day to come out.
But if you get bored of Mario running, then this is well worth a look. It might not have as many moustaches, but it’s still a lot of fun.