I was recently elated after finishing Jasper’s Journey, by Lexaloffle Games, on my PC. It was that particular kind of elation you feel when you finally beat something really hard after trying and failing many times.

Jasper’s Journey is a retro-style cute-looking downloadable platformer game for PC and Mac. Other games from Lexaloffe include the well received Chocolate Castle and also Zen Puzzle Garden.

You play as Jasper, a kind of purple haired imp-like creature, who is ferried from level to level by a cute purple dragon in search of your stolen cat. Along the way you’ve venture through several different lovely landscapes with plenty of secrets to explore whilst battling various small creates and big bosses. The blurb on the site says “frantic monster pummelling action” and you wouldn’t guess it at first but it’s definitely true later.

Jasper1I downloaded the demo for this quite a while ago and straight away I enjoyed the well-made retro graphics and the strange atmosphere (which I’m sure is made stronger by the lack of in-game music and the 8-bit sounding sound effects) all tied together with a good solid platform game engine. The first few levels were pretty easy and my boys watched me breeze through them. We became addicted and played it constantly and then it started to get hard… like really hard.

jasper2The save game points weren’t frequent enough and some of the enemies were just crazy hard to kill and some of the platforming was pretty tough – so it did become very frustrating at times. You don’t get much health (just up to 3 shields and a single hit will remove one) and it’s possible to run out of ammo (which is replenished by collecting fruit, or buying more in the shop with the treasure you collect). We actually stopped playing it for months until I got a newsletter from Lexaloffle which mentioned an update. The update had more saved game points! This was enough to get me playing again and I managed to get to the end but discovered that I really didn’t have enough firepower to take out the final boss. So I went back a couple of saves and really carefully collected every piece of treasure I could in order to buy the triple shot potion to beat the boss but I was 5 gold short, ARG! But I bought the butterfly potion instead which actually proved pretty handy and I was able to beat the boss after many tries.

jasper3After I finished it my boys wanted to play it and I let my 5-year-old try Easy mode (I completed it on Medium. I wouldn’t try hard unless I wanted to punish myself for some ultimate sin). Easy mode gives you infinite ammo (makes fruit collecting pointless though), and when you get hit and are shieldless you loose your treasure Sonic style and can pick it up again. However, it will still too hard for him, he got to level 2 but couldn’t really progress.

So to conclude, this game has a great vibe (charming in fact) and is well made. I totally recommend it for adults who are experienced players, but not for young kids (kids beyond about 8 will probably consider it too poofy). If it was considerably easier and had more levels that you could just breeze through then I’d have given it a higher score.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next Lexaloffle game for sure.

Jake

I'm an Indie game developer with a couple of titles under my belt. I've been programming for 23 years on a variety of platforms. Currently I'm using BlitzMax, which is great.

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