One of the frequent criticisms I’ve offered of the company calling itself Atari these days is that they should have focused on developing new games rather than trying to launch a console. I’ve always wished them success, but have been skeptical about their strategy, and their execution on the AtariBox project left a lot to be desired.
That said, I am fair-minded, and will say when Atari does something right.
And it looks like they may have something, with their newest game, Mr. Run and Jump.
It’s a super mario style platformer, done in Atari’s “reloaded” style neon colored wireframe vector graphics. At first glance it does admittedly look a bit derivative of Mario, and a Mario clone isn’t likely to win over a lot of gamers. On the other hand Nintendo’s formula with Mario platformers has been tried and true for going on 40 years now, and Atari has been floundering for most of the past 40 years, so imitating Nintendo is hardly the worst approach they could arguably take with their game design.
The thing with Mario games is that while they’re always quality, they do rely on a bunch of traditions and conventions that are pretty established, and deviating from them can be problematic. So to truly break free of these conventions, it is a good idea to start over with new worldbuilding and introduce new characters, so that the “rules” are not in conflict with previously established “canon” that will offend purists, or just not be what people were expecting, and thus be rejected when there’s actually nothing wrong with taking a new approach. So maybe Atari can do something interesting and innovative with platformers with a new property like Mr. Run and Jump.
Does Mr. Run and Jump accomplish that? That remains to be seen. It’s difficult to do better at a run and jump platforming game than Nintendo has already done. On the other hand, if you’re going to imitate something, you might as well try to imitate the best there is.
Bottom line: it looks cool, and I’d give it a try.