Jumanji: The Curse Returns. Ladiesgamers.com. Van Pelt and the board game.

Jumanji: The Curse Returns Review

Game: Jumanji: The Curse Returns
Genre: Board Game, Multiplayer, Adventure, Party
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam (Windows) on iOS and Android)
Developers | Publishers: Marmalade Game Studio
Price: US $18.99 | UK £14.99 | EU € 17,99 
Age Rating: US T | UK 7+
Release Date: June 13th, 2022 

Review code used, with many thanks to Marmalade Game Studio. 

You hear it. The rumbling of drums. Perhaps the screech of a monkey. You know it’s time to finish the game. The game you must finish? Jumanji, of course! If you’ve ever dreamed of playing the famous game from the classic movie (without the mess or risk of entrapment) here’s your chance. 

Gameplay 

Jumanji: The Curse Returns. LadiesGamers.com. A shot of the Jumanji board.
A shot of the Jumanji board.

This is a combo board and deck-building game. You roll the dice, and your piece moves around the board. Land on a square that unleashes a critter on your unsuspecting town? Get ready to do battle. You’ll be moved to one of five locations in your environment. Lose all five to invading critters and plants and you lose the game. Of course, you could end up having to go back a turn, unleash Van Pelt, or even upgrade powers for your playing piece instead. It’s all up to the board. 

Jumanji: The Curse Returns. Ladiesgamers.com. Choose a jewel to increase to add powers to your game piece.
Choose a jewel to increase to add powers to your game piece.

Each battle, you and your fellow players (or the CPU) will use your individual card decks to engage the enemies. It’s not turn-based, it’s a free-for-all. So be ready to keep track of a lot at once. In addition to choosing the best weapons to use on your enemies, fill up your shield to avoid getting shot by Van Pelt, fill up your magic so you can use your token’s ability, and monitor the shared meter so you can do a combo attack with your team, oh, and don’t allow yourself or your teammates to get hopelessly tangled in vines! Phew, you’ll be working hard. 

Battle Details 

Jumanji: The Curse Returns. Ladiesgamers. com. A battle scene. It shows the cards, avatars, and enemies.
A battle scene. It shows the cards, avatars, and enemies.

When you land on a space that pits you against one of the many creatures of Jumanji, you’ll be whisked off to one of the five locations in the game. There you’ll be told your goal (how many monkeys to defeat for example) and then dropped into battle. You have three cards and a bar above them that fills as your turn progresses. This bar shows what value cards you can use at any given time. Using this method, higher value cards have a time delay. Since it’s an active battle, these seconds count. Build your deck with this in mind.  

On your avatar, you have a shield meter and magic meter. As best as I can tell, the shield is primarily for preventing injuries from attacks by Van Pelt (who randomly attacks players after he’s released from the game), and the magic meter is for powering up your token. Your token is a major attack, and it’s the only thing that can be used against Van Pelt when he appears. 

Jumanji: The Curse Returns. Ladiesgamers.com. Cards you can buy for your deck.
Cards you can buy for your deck.

At the end of each battle, you get a certain number of coins that you can use to buy additional cards for your deck. Pay attention to how much each one costs in the time since any delay in your ability to attack can be costly. You can also buy cards that increase magic, decrease the anger of your opponents, increase the shield, or increase the meter that leads to a team attack, and you have the ability to use most of those cards to assist other players. 

The Setting, Graphics, and Sound 

Jumanji: The Curse Returns. Ladiesgamers.com. A map of the locations in Brantford. Also the loading screen.
. A map of the locations in Brantford. Also the loading screen.

The setting is on one of two maps: Either the town of Brantford or a winter resort area. Each map has five locations appropriate to the theme. I didn’t notice any way in which what setting you chose affected gameplay, so I think it’s just for visuals. 

The graphics aren’t great, but they’re not bad either. I think the various critters and plants are better done than the avatars, which look a little rushed to me, but it’s not a big deal. The graphics are perfectly adequate to the title. 

I think this game does a great job with sound and music. Combined, they create an atmosphere that makes me nervous. It sounds like I’m actually playing Jumanji and we all know how risky that is. 

Additional Details 

Jumanji: The Curse Returns. Ladiesgamers.com. Another battle. This one against a group of monkeys.
Another battle. This one is against a group of monkeys.

There are four play options. You can play with the CPU, with friends using multiple controllers, with friends online, or with strangers online. The publisher has also announced that cross-play with the app version is available. I only tested the CPU gameplay for this review. 

There are three levels of play difficulty: easy, normal, and hard. I found it hard to be at a good level for me. Normal was a little too easy to win every time. Your mileage may vary. 

Jumanji: The Curse Returns. Ladiesgamers.com. Four avatars from the game.
Four avatars from the game.

Conclusion

Jumanji: The Curse Returns is a solid board/deck-building combat game. All the games took me under an hour, some under half an hour. It’s a fun way to spend some time pretending you’re in a movie you probably loved as a kid. Despite the meh avatar design that takes me out of the game a bit, the atmospheric music and sound really does give the impression that you’re playing Jumanji. Just please, make sure you finish your game. I don’t want another 2020! 

Final Verdict: I Like It

I like it

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