In Jumpman, you direct a small orange character through puzzling platforming madness. The object of the game is to get to the exit of each level. You will die along the way, quite a lot, but other than a reminder of your shameful performance at the end of each stage, there is no fail state.

Each level has certain properties; most allow you to flip the level in 45 degree turns.  There are levels where you can only flip the room at specific angles, or not at all. Sometimes there are balls that roll around as you flip the room, becoming a hazard not only to your enemies, but to you as well. Other levels require you to set off a bomb that destroys parts of the level and causes pieces of it to fly around; you then rotate the room in hopes of laying the pieces in just such a way as to be able to reach the exit. In the final volley of levels, things are mixed up when layers are introduced to the game. In order to touch certain platforms, you must be the same color, so you have to find the switch that turns you purple, than red, and so on, in whatever order is required to navigate to the exit.

Jumpman reminds me of Portal in some ways, as imagined by some 17-year-old self-taught programmer in Atari’s heyday. It requires you to flip your brain over and over and over, and when you pull away from the game and look around, you see right angles as wrong angles, and colors as significant clues as to where to go next.  Such a seeminlgy simple game bristles with expertly executed concepts.  This is the kind of game I could play for hours if I let myself.

-Jason