Platform: Xbox Indie Games (Xbox 360) Price: 240 MSP / $3 USD Arkedo has made their mark before via the Nintendo DS with Nervous Brickdown as well as Big Bang Mini and has recently ventured into the Xbox 360 by bringing us a fun retro platformer with both impressive 2D graphics and fun gameplay for only $3. Gameplay: You take control of a pixelated man who has only one ability, the power to jump. Unlike Mario however, this character can't jump on top of enemies (mainly crabs and skeletons) to kill them but he can avoid them with his impressive leaping skills. While you can't directly attack enemies, some levels contain a sword power-up that you can store and use when necessary. It will allow you to throw a sword at an enemy and kill it. This is not necessary though as the game can be completed without killing any enemies but it sure does make it easier at times to wipe out a certain enemy as you don't have to worry about avoiding them. The objective in each level is to collect a set of ticking bombs before they go off. There's an indicator on the top right hand corner of your screen telling you how many bombs are left. This indicator neglects to tell you how much time is left on the timer though which means that you'll have to find the bombs to find out as each bomb has a small number on it showing how many seconds are left. Generally speaking, most bombs last over 100 seconds but a couple explode much quicker depending on the level. As for the bomb quantity, this varies depending on the level as well. Another thing worth mentioning is that the developer decided to make this concept a bit more interesting by hiding some bombs in piggy banks in certain levels. In order to collect these bombs you need to collect enough cash to open the piggy bank which adds a bit of strategy to the game as sometimes a fast ticking bomb will be enclosed and it might be wiser to collect the slower ones first and then open up the quick one when you'll actually have time to get to it. Aside from that, collecting cash didn't seem to have any other purpose, at least in the "Adventure" mode. Before I get into the other game mode, I'd like to point out a couple of other things. There are no continues or save points, so once you lose, you have to start from level one again. While this might sound frustrating, it's not so bad as the game isn't extremely difficult. The game also tries to lighten things up a bit by displaying some humorous messages when you die. Also, you can't exit to the main menu which is a bit annoying, instead you either have to exit out the game via the dashboard controls or lose all your lives to get to the main menu again. Although technically this is not really a problem as assuming you haven't unlocked the other game mode, there's no reason to go to the main menu. As for completing the adventure mode, I got fairly far in my first attempt but ultimately completed it in my second attempt after I racked up a few more lives by collecting the life power-ups found in several levels. This mode contained a total of 30 levels which didn't take long to complete but it was definitely enjoyable. In addition, the game is not all about platforming. There are some minor puzzle elements as well but it's all straightforward stuff so there's no need to refer to guides and whatnot. Now to talk about the other game mode called "Challenges". It's unlocked once you've completed the game and it features every level in the adventure mode plus one extra level that is unlocked once you've completed all the challenges. Each challenge requires you to play the level as you did before in the adventure but this time it's required to collect every cash item. If you fail to collect every cash item, you won't get credit for completing it and will have to redo it. You are not forced to play through each level in order, instead, you can choose which challenge you'd like to do and do it at your own pace which I thought was quite nice. However, you do need to complete all the challenges to unlock the "secret" stage which was the hardest one in my opinion. That level took me several retries to complete, trial and error is your best friend. I'd recommend just exploring the level first without collecting all the cash and then actually do it the "right" way. After you've completed the 31st level, you'll get a message from the developers congratulating you. At that point, you have completed the game 100%. The challenges mode should take you a bit longer than the adventure mode to complete so you can expect at least another 2 hours of gameplay from it especially due to that last stage unless you're really good at platformers. Graphics & Audio: The 2D retro graphics are amazing, both the sprites and background elements were all well crafted. This game probably has the best 2D graphics when compared to all the currently available Xbox Indie Games. As for the audio, the retro music was quite enjoyable along with the sound effects. Replay value: Completing the "Adventure" mode will unlock the "Challenges" mode which should extend the gameplay as stated before. However, once both those modes have been fully completed the only other replay value will stem from the available modes themselves. If you really enjoyed the game you'll be inclined to replay it again as I did several times and while it's unfortunate that you can not keep track of how many lives you completed the game with automatically, you could always manually do this yourself. Another possible approach is to attempt completing the game without dying by either restarting it on your own once you've died or purposely losing several lives in the first level so that the game will automatically end once you've run out of lives. Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed this 2D retro platformer and am definitely looking forward to future Xbox Indie Games from Arkedo. While the game was on the short side, it was definitely worth the asking price, and I'll definitely be replaying it from time to time. Also, while the concept of not attacking your enemies might sound lame, this game proves it can actually be fun. Therefore, the full game is a must for any fan of retro platformers or anyone else looking for a fun visually appealing game with some reasonable difficulty at an incredible price. With a few more successful sequels, the pixelated dude found in Arkedo could be the "Mario" of the Xbox Indie Games section. Pros: +Amazing graphics +Excellent retro gameplay +Reasonable difficulty +Great price +Fun to replay Cons: -Lack of a harder difficulty mode although level 31 kind of made up for it As you can see, the pros heavily outweigh the cons and as such, Arkedo Series 01 - Jump! deserves it's 9/10 rating. While it's not the longest nor most innovative game on the Xbox Indie Games platform, it's certainly a short but fun experience that you won't forget. Get the trial, the gameplay will then speak for itself.