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Jungle Beat Review – An Unexpected Treasure

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Jungle Beat is a recently released mobile game developed by Sunrise Productions, a South African company known for their highly successful animated short films carrying the same name.

The game is built for children three years and up. However, through fun and intuitive gameplay Sunrise Productions has managed to create a game that bridges the generational gap. Jungle Beat is a game that the whole family can enjoy, from ages three to ninety three.

It’s a Jungle out there!

Baby Ostrich has gone missing and it’s up to her friends to form a rescue party and save the cute little animal. In the first couple of levels, the player is introduced to the game’s story as they take on the roll of Baby Ostrich, tumbling into a raging river and being swept away deep into the jungle. After each of the 25 levels available in the game, there is a few images that depict a story told in the same way as the animated series; through character body language instead of text or speech.

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The gameplay is that of a puzzle platformer, as players take on the role of a variety of animals. Controls are easy to use and understand, lending to a family friendly experience. The goal is to get to the end of a level, yet there are extra objectives for those who want to complete every achievement by collecting bananas and four letters that spell the word “Beat”.

Throughout the game, you take on the roll of a variety of different but equally cute characters, expertly crafted and animated. At first, you play with only one character, but as you progress to the later levels, you have three at your disposal at any given time. You only control one character at a time but you can switch over to a different character with ease by simply tapping on their portrait. You have to use the different animals’ special skills to your advantage. Baby Ostrich can hide in a watermelon and roll into hard to reach places; Firefly can zap objects with a lazer beam and Giraffe takes the fad of planking to a whole new level, falling down over a gap to give other characters a chance of getting over without injury.

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The character’s unique abilities are both fun to use and lets you think of your next move instead of just jumping around mindlessly collecting bananas. For example, if you need to get to the bottom of a level, but there is rocks blocking your path, you can zap down an object to release a boulder with Firefly, and then switch to Elephant to push said boulder down, crushing the rocks blocking your path.    

The wonderfully wacky animals traverse mountains, deserts and of course jungles, solving puzzles and meeting new friends along the way. Jungle Beat is not just a brainless way to pass time, but a game that makes you think while having fun at the same time, which is exactly the kind of game kids need and parents can enjoy as well.  

Bridging the generational gap

It’s not very often that a game made for kids can appeal so fully to both young children and seasoned gamers. For the younglings the beautifully crafted environments coupled with amazing sound effects can lead to hours upon hours of fun. Due to the fact that the game is based on an animated short films that have been broadcast in over 180 countries worldwide, the younger audience will be familiar with the characters and art style.

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How can the older crowd get intrigued by something created for children and who might have never seen the short films? The game gives you a sense of nostalgia, as it plays like the brilliant Nintendo platformer’s of the olden days. Furthermore, the banana collectables made me think back to Donkey Kong whilst the intuitive gameplay elements and level design can make you stop and think about your next move.

Jungle Beat can be challenging as well; if you go after a plethora of achievements the game provides. For example, there is a challenge that tells you to complete the game in two hours and 30 minutes, which is a difficult feat to achieve. You can play the game however you want. If you don’t want to collect all the bananas on a map, you do not have to, nor do you have to collect all the letters in the word “BEAT” to complete a level.

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Giving a player the choice on how to play the game is an excellent move by Sunrise Productions. Some players will opt to run through the levels or miss some hard to reach objectives, while others can challenge themselves.

Closing Thoughts

Although created for young audience Jungle Beat is an exceptional mobile gaming experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The whole game, from character animations to level design is of the highest quality. Throughout my play sessions, I did not find a single bug or glitch, which is excellent for a recently released game. If you are looking for a new, intuitive mobile game to play or have any children that enjoy mobile gaming / the Jungle Beat series, the game is a must buy.

For parents, rest assured that there are no in-app purchases or advertisements in Jungle Beat.  Managing Director of Sunrise Productions Tim Keller notes that: “Parents told us that they dislike in-app purchases, and we agree with them. There’s no in-app purchases in Jungle Beat. We believe we can make a high-quality game and sell it for a fair price.”

Jungle Beat is available on Android and iOS devices. The game will set you back R39,99. You can find it on the Playstore here and iTunes here. The size of the game is around 140mb and requires Android version 4.0 and up to. I played the game using my Nexa Orion 10.1, a powerful yet affordable Quad Core 10 inch tablet as I ventured through the jungle to save Baby Ostrich.  

You can also check out the iOS review by Grant Hinds.

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