NEXT JUMP Review: Leaving Many Post Mortem Pixels in its Wake
April 28, 2017
Post Mortem Pixels
Post Mortem Pixels
Setting foot in the cockpit of a spaceship on a journey to defeat . . . Dragons? That’s your goal in NEXT JUMP Shmup Tactics, a newly released game by Post Mortem Pixels. In developing this game, it seems as if Post Mortem Pixels wanted to make their namesake known because you will die a lot, leaving postmortem pixels behind as you rage to your screen. That’s a promise.
NEXT JUMP is extremely difficult while simultaneously being pretty simple. You play as a Bastard on a mission to take down the Dragon Mothership. It uses a turn-based combat system during “jumps.” Jumps are where most of the action happens and you have to move and fight to survive increasingly difficult enemies. When you’re in between jumps, you’ll be repairing and upgrading your ship, or taking part in a random encounter.
While making your way to the Dragon mothership, you’ll have to plan your route, as not every stopping point will have a store and some SOS signals can be harmful and based on your ship’s energy level you can only jump so far. Jumping too far may cause your demise while too short of jumps won’t get you enough scrap to buy upgrades. Planning is key if you want to survive to face the mothership. Before you hop into battle, you must first choose your ship. There are four options, two of which are available at the beginning and offer just enough gameplay diversity for a game as small as NEXT JUMP.
I mentioned before that this game is simple, yet difficult. The controls of the turn-based combat are simple. Click to move and use items during your turn. Sounds easy. The difficulty comes in when there’s a ton of enemies taking shots are you and you have to avoid all that while collecting scrap.
Just when you think you’re about to take on the Dragon mothership, something gives and the next thing you know, you’re dead. It could be an enemy ship taking you out, underestimating an SOS or being killed by your own weapons. From my experience, it’s pretty much inevitable. This has caused me to quit many times only to jump back in minutes later. A loss, especially one so close to finishing the main objective can be infuriating. However, unlike most games where I’d have to take some time before I play it again, I found myself getting back into it immediately. A loss, while annoying, acted as motivation for me to try again and to do even better next time. When you die, you can take a look back at all those you’ve lost in the Hall of Lost Bastards.
I know I just used the game’s difficulty as a positive, but perhaps Post Mortem Pixels would consider dialing it back a bit. I enjoy a good challenge but it’s hard to get anywhere when you’re surrounded by blaster rounds with no teleporter, no shield and nowhere else to go but to the Hall of Lost Bastards. Rest in peace, various incarnations of my name.
Another thing I noticed was, while sometimes it can be helpful, in the more difficult stages and EMP can be pretty useless. For example, my favorite class of ship has a main weapon which is pretty powerful. However, its last upgrade deals EMP damage only. Sure, you can temporarily disable an enemy ship with an EMP, but what about the other ten ships taking potshots at you? At the time when this happened to me, I was completely unaware of that important little fact and had to run and cower in fear from enemies until I could buy another weapon to serve as my main weapon.
- Intense soundtrack
- Some useless upgrades
- Too difficult at times