Sometimes it seems like Microsoft's XBLA service just loves shooting itself in the foot. I mean, we have this great addition to the 360, one that has borne fruit to some excellent re-issues such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Castlevania: SotN. We have also witnessed some innovative titles such as Cloning Clyde and Carcassone. However, these games are sadly few and far between. The dirge of uninspiring and frankly boring titles that appear week in, week out is growing in size at an alarming rate. Microsoft has upheld its pledge of two new Live Arcade titles per week, solemnly swearing that this will be the service with the most downloadable content compared to its rivals. Games like Screwjumper! make me wish it had never made that promise.
Screwjumper! falls into the top-down action category. Well it's certainly top-down but the word action implies intensity, determination and in a videogame context, fun. In order to immerse the gamer, action titles usually have a plot and setting in order to give your mission some kind of purpose. So you can be forgiven for remaining completely nonplussed when you're told you're a former mine worker who, disgruntled with the safety risks of your previous job, is now hell bent on blowing everything up in the mines where you used to work. Sounds exciting, eh? Well, in case my attempt at sarcasm was lost on you, let me just say that it adds absolutely nothing whatsoever to the already bland and monotonous gameplay.
You dive down the mines using your booster to smash into green objects and thus racking up points and cash. Red objects are to be avoided at all cost, and if you bump into too many of these it's Game Over. The longer you hold down the boost button, the more points you receive as you hurtle head first into these platforms to the sound of a tinny explosion. Don't hold it down for too long, though, as it will overheat and send you back to square one. That's not all the arsenal you have at your disposal, however. You have dynamite! Yes. You can lob sticks of dynamite at various objects blocking your path for even more meaningless points and more cash you can't spend when you make your way back up.