As the game title says, Jim loves Mary. However, that just isn't enough to convince Mary's family to accept their relationship. They are forced to be apart but, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Instead of making them forget about each other, this only increased their affections. Good thing Jim has a plan on how to reunite with his sweetheart --and it's an elaborate plan indeed. With your help, the couple will have to press switches, push boxes and even jump over spike traps to meet up. Then, there's Mary's family guarding the way. You will need to learn the patterns and avoid confrontation if you want to get Mary to Jim's home safe and sound.
As it is with forbidden love stories, it's hard not to root for the love-birds and see their fairytale come true. Jim Loves Mary integrates this old concept into an entertaining platformer-slash-puzzle game. If you want the full experience, you will need to go through all twenty stages with care as you collect 60 hearts scattered about. Successfully getting these will reward you with an extra stage and a resolution (sort of) to Jim and Mary's family drama. The bonus round is reminiscent of the Coin Rush found in the Super Mario Bros. series, though instead of coins, you are tasked to collect 99 hearts before time runs out.
What makes this game unique from other platformers is that instead of a linear approach using one character, you will need to master controlling both to succeed in a stage. Don't worry. You don't need to be ambidextrous to pull it off. Instead, you'll have to rely on your wits, carefully planning steps ahead of time in order to clear a path for the lovebirds.
The controls for Jim Loves Mary are simple and well-organized. Using the A, W and D keys, you can move Jim around the level. Coming from the opposite side of the stage, Mary is controlled using the directional arrows. Each level has its own unique set of obstacles, often requiring you to time actions to open new paths and keep Mary's family at bay.
Though you may get stumped figuring out the proper puzzle sequence, you will rarely be left clueless regarding the general objective of a level. Keep the title in mind before you go flipping switches as it gives valuable hints such as "Two-Way Ladder" or "What Side?". If that's not enough, eye the whole stage for written clues beside new elements. Because these small details keep things from getting frustratingly difficult, Jim Love Mary is certainly enjoyable even for young or casual players. That doesn't mean every level is a walk in the park though. Later levels combine obstacles and hostiles, requiring solutions to be properly timed.
While it isn't cutting edge or anything, we found the game graphics to be charming. The use of clean lines and crisp colors give Jim Loves Mary a polished look. We love the use of subtle shading as it gives the background some texture. The chunky sans serif fonts are cartoony, blending in well with the cheery little details. As a whole, the art fits the sweet themed game to a tee and that definitely deserves a thumbs-up.
On the other hand, the text needs a revamp. Sure, we understand the occasional "Engrish" or even a missing punctuation or two, but to get the spelling of Mary's name wrong? That's most definitely a no-no. Also, the sentences seem like they were translated by a web service. Is it a deal breaker? Well, not really. If you're no stranger to platform games, you may not even need to read anything at all. At least there are no critical clues to be missed as the hints and titles don't have glaring mistakes. The storyline is also pretty basic, so unless you're very particular about grammar and sentence construction, you'll still be able to enjoy the game.
With its balanced game play and amusing storyline, Jim Loves Mary is certainly a must-try. It doesn't matter if you're a veteran platform game player or not, you will enjoy figuring out how the characters can cooperate to clear stages. Better yet, play with a friend or your own significant other. It can be fun trying to assist each other, clearing a path and collecting hearts. Bottom line is, if you're even remotely into platformers or puzzle titles, we highly recommend giving Jim Loves Mary a try.