Ni No Kuni's Jump Is Useless And Amazing

When playing video games, it's easy to get caught up in the notion of utility. Is this ability useful to me, does this skill make my character more powerful, will it improve the ratio of my numbers to my opponents' numbers, robot, robot, numbers, beep, boop, etc.

And so it goes with Ni no Kuni, the wonderful new role-playing game from Studio Ghibli and Level-5. The game features a wealth of deep, satisfying systems, from the Pokémon-like monster collection to the complicated real-time combat.

You'll be able to power-up your protagonist Oliver and his party-members in a lot of ways, and you unlock power-ups by earning merit stamps. It works like this: As you complete sidequests, you'll get stamps, which go onto your merit card. If you get enough stamps, you'll fill up a merit card, and you can turn in complete merit cards for upgrades like "enemies will drop more health orbs in battle" or "you'll move faster across land." Given that Ni no Kuni can be right difficult at times, these power-ups are very valuable, indeed.

But my favourite upgrade so far is the only one that has no practical application: The jump.

The jump is actually the first power-up you can buy. It's very up-front about its uselessness, telling you, before you trade in a precious merit card for it: "Not very useful, but a whole lot of fun!"

That may be the most accurate power-up description I've ever seen. The jump is indeed not very useful — it doesn't turn Ni no Kuni into a platformer, and doesn't allow Oliver to leap to higher areas or access anything he couldn't before. But it IS a whole lot of fun, as advertised.

For a "useless" ability, a lot of work has gone into making the jump feel special. Like all the animations in the game, the jump looks lovely — Oliver throws one foot out in front and pushes off with his rear-leg; it's a real bound. Stairways are set so that Oliver can jump from the bottom to the top with precisely one press of the button. And the jump is available to you no matter what part of the game you're in: you can also jump in the lovely world-map and you and all of your familiars can jump in combat.

As purely cosmetic upgrades go, Ni no Kuni's jump is hard to beat. It's been lovingly worked into every part of the game, one of many seamless inclusions that serves to make the game and its world feel richer.

And yeah, OK, it would've been pretty cool if the jump let me get up to some new areas. But I'll take it.


    Well it makes you faster in shops where you have to walk and makes you the tiniest bit faster in the field with repeated jumps (or at least seems that way).

      I just found this out too, walking in stores is so slooow.

      Correct on both counts.
      Not sure about anyone else but I found myself doing a lot of inadvertent grinding while clearing out errand boards. I cannot in good conscience continue with the story till I have killed every mark and helped every random stranger that requests it, This did however leave me a bit over-leveled at times and when someone told me to go collect me a bunch of stuff from a certain mob in a region where everything ran from me, having the jump made it possible to catch up with enemies on the world map faster than if I were just running. Anyone else run into this problem?

        A neat trick i found is to press R1 when they start running away to bring your map up. Once you close it they will change direction and usually start running towards you instead.

    Makes you feel like a kid again, jumping down those 3 steps as a kid is like Assassin Creeds tower jump. lol.

    I find it's just weird in general to not be able to jump. It's the most primitive expression of freedom in a game, even if it does nothing.

    I love it. just got the levitate spell and the animation is awesome. It was likegetting glide for the first time in kingdom hearts.

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