Lastly, the jumping mechanics themselves were lacking. A character—even a cartoon character—should have some tangibility and weight. One shouldn’t be able to change direction multiple times in midair, and one shouldn’t be able to make gigantic, long leaps from a stationary, standing position. These details, while minor, break an important, emotional connection between the game and its audience.
Also, one’s jumps shouldn’t have to be anally precise, down to the pixel, but that’s exactly what was required in Stage 2, “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King.” After swinging with monkeys and jumping off giraffe’s and rhino’s heads, you reached the hippos—you had to swing from hippo tail to hippo tail in order to cross the lake. The tails were nearly impossible to grab—if you approached them from the wrong angle, they slipped right through your paws. To make matters worse, the hippos were spaced irregularly from each other. Thus, each jump was unique, and there was no way to get into a rhythm.
The same was true for platforms—if you jumped at them from the wrong angle, you would fall right through them. To reach these crucial checkpoints, only to lose all of your lives from mistimed jumps, was rage-inducing. Games should be challenging—there’s nothing wrong with dying a lot, but in a good game, the player will blame him or herself. In a bad game, the player will blame the game. Difficulty should never come at the cost of enjoyment.