Do you remember the GameBoy when it weighed as much as a brick and you had to spend most of your allowance on batteries? Me too. Galaxy Jumper, the new puzzle-platformer from NinjaKiwi, isn't on the GameBoy; it just looks like it is (plus a few extra colours), and I probably would have enjoyed my childhood electronic entertainment a lot more if it had been. You play a nameless black figure, leaping from planet to planet, in your quest to... uh... leap from planet to planet.
The aim is to collect all the keys in each level to open the exit. Simply point your mouse to choose a direction, and click (or use the [spacebar]) to jump; you can tell where you'll land by the soft glowing white light that appears on a surface when you point your cursor in any direction. Miss a jump and you'll go hurtling offscreen and have to start the entire level over again. You also have to start over if you run into an enemy, get blown up, or otherwise smote. You unlock new levels by spending the coins you collect, so make sure to grab them whenever possible.
Galaxy Jumper is a good example of a simple concept done up right. Each level presents its own challenge that keeps the game from becoming repetitive and wearing out its welcome before its 27 levels are done. As you go, you'll encounter new obstacles such as planets that explode if you stay in one place for too long, or vanish once you leap off them. The problem is the one-hit KO aspect; as you can progress, levels can get quite large, and to be punted all the way back to the beginning of one because a monster rubbed up against you can be very frustrating. Of course, since all that's required to play a level is a certain amount of coins, you can simply bribe your way past one if you get stuck.
Not that you should need to. Even the levels that demand constant movement don't require you to be a wizard at the controls, and the game maintains a nice difficulty curve rather than the soul-crushing pain most "retro" platformers seem inclined to deliver. The levels are a nice mix of reflexes and simple puzzle solving, and combined with the stark presentation and atmospheric soundtrack, makes for a very fun experience. You don't need a lot of flash to make something fun, and Galaxy Jumper proves that point with style.