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Jumanji: The Curse Returns review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Marmalade Game Studio
Developer: Marmalade Game Studio
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes
ESRB: T

Jumanji: The Curse Returns has a bit of an advantage over most other board game adaptations, in that the game it’s based on doesn’t really exist. Sure, plenty of people have fond memories of the ‘90s Robin Williams movie (not to mention the more recent films with Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black), but it’s not like people will have actually played a board game that unleashes wild animals on your city. The possibilities of how the board game would play in real life are wide open.

Which makes it all the more disappointing that this is what came from that freedom. Jumanji: The Curse Returns has one barebones idea – deck-based battles – and doesn’t do anything to build on it. You and your teammates run into elephants? Attack them with cards until you get rid of a certain number. Crocodiles? Attack them with cards until you get rid of a certain number. Mosquitos? Attack them with cards until you get rid of a certain number. A whole bunch of different animals? Attack them with cards until you get rid of a certain number.

In theory, there’s some strategy, but none of it really matters. You can use some cards to boost your teammates, or to free you from being frozen, or to lower the aggression of the wild animals you’re facing – but ultimately, it all comes back to the same thing of attack, attack, attack. I’d say it gets boring after a few games of it, but that would be too generous – Jumanji: The Curse Returns gets repetitive after just a few turns in a single game. There’s no real strategy, no variation, just the same battles turn after turn after turn.

If there’s a silver lining to be found, it’s that Jumanji: The Curse Returns is at least competently done. This comes as no surprise, since the studio behind the game, Marmalade, was also responsible for ports of Battleship and The Game of Life, among others.

But there’s a gulf between competent and enjoyable, and Jumanji: The Curse Returns comes nowhere close to crossing it. It may work, but before you’ve finished your first time playing it, you’ll be wishing there was something more than that to it.

Marmalade Game Studio provided us with a Jumanji: The Curse Returns Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C-