Created by Japanese developers EnpituKeikaku, Hopping is a 3D action game set in a circus. The story the developers have created is that of Ginny, the daughter of a country circus called “Circo Calle.” They say they wanted to show a story of a girl eager to achieve something and that “this game’s story shows her longing to (join an) urban circus, and figure to challenge.” To tell the tale they have cinematic scenes that are reminiscent of silent film. Gilly wishes to succeed as an acrobat and dreams of a better life. To help her succeed you must prove her worth under the big top!

In their concept they also want players to enjoy a soft, specific environment. They chose that of the classic circus ring, which may hold memories for many people. I am old enough to remember the strange experience of being taken along to a traveling Russian circus as a child. They have designed the game to bring in just that sort of nostalgia from life or film. Well, how we picture of the circus anyway, without all the shady people and stink of elephant manure.

Hopping is a pretty game, graphically detailed in blacks, whites and rich grays. The whole style is that of a 1930s black and white movie. Ginny’s trampoline takes up the center of the screen where the action occurs. Around the screen there are lights and spinning signs. They all look much like mechanical clockwork pieces ticking along. These serve no role in gameplay, but they add a nice aesthetic to the environment. A spotlight shines onto the center of the ring where the acrobat must perform.

It is essentially a 3D jumping game. Success is achieved by jumping over the obstacles that move across the acrobat’s net. These look to be elaborate gilt gates that sweep or spin across the stage. You have no choice but to clear them or get hit. As this is a circus and people have paid to come and watch, Gilly can only perform her jumps inside the circle of the spotlight on the ring. She has two types of jumps: a normal one and a high jump. As the gates vary in height you will have to use both and time it to perfection.

When you jump, you jump three times in succession and then stop. You can only stop before this by landing in the unlit area. You can also keep jumping, jump higher, and do somersaults by tapping the spacebar. You will need to keep good timing in your jumps and choose which way to move and where to land wisely. It gets tricky with a lot of gates sliding across the screen!

Although the game is simple in idea, it is still challenging. The cinematic scenes and imagery of the game create a really pleasant experience. There was a tiny bug I found at the start of the game, in the tutorial where I over-jumped and fell off the stage. I was stuck hovering in darkness and I had to reset the game. Apart from this, I didn’t find any other problems.

Overall, it looks great and is a nice concept created with class and a unique style. This would be a great game to recommend to anyone from young players to gamers who want a simple and different challenge.

Hopping is available for free download on Windows here.

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