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Jazzpunk

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By Azeebo06-02-2014
MrJenssen (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)
Jazzpunk

The Defence

Developer:
Necrophone Games
Publisher:
Adult Swim Games
Genre:
Adventure, Indie
Release Date:
07-02-2014

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Pentium 4 1.8 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce 8600
AMD equivalent
RAM:
2 GB
HDD:
2 GB
DirectX:
9.0c

The Case

What is Jazzpunk? In layman’s terms, it is a first person adventure-esque spy game. But calling it such is a massive disservice to the game. It is more an amalgamation of genres, games and styles all bound together by the concept of an adventure-esque spy game that might not actually exist at all. So let’s have a look.

The Trial

You play as Polyblank, a faceless, voiceless character who works for a spy agency hidden in Darlington Station under the command of The Director. He gives you a quick brief on your mission, hands you a mysterious drug known as Missionoyl Amphibamine Dextrose, and sends you off. Upon taking said pills, you appear at your mission location with no recollection of how you got there.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase mushroom cloud.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase mushroom cloud.

Each mission has a primary set of objectives to complete, but the mission area is rather vast, and full of secrets, objectives and other things to encounter. The game itself will only last you about two hours, and that is if you scour the levels for most of the secrets. If you rush through the game’s story, you will finish significantly faster. Either Way, it is very likely you will complete Jazzpunk in one sitting.

But that does not necessarily mean it is a bad game. Because it’s not. It’s fantastic. The story makes next to no sense, the world itself is never expanded upon, there are massive gaps in the plot that are never fully explained and despite all of that, I love it. The fact that it leaves you in a constant state of wonder and confusion is a massive credit to the game, even if nothing actually makes sense.

Yes that is a bowling pin in a hat.

Yes that is a bowling pin in a hat.

But, what exactly do you do? Well, it’s an adventure game played from a first person perspective. So you run around rubbing various objects on various other objects, hoping for things to happen. If you have ever played classics like Broken Sword or Sam & Max, this kind of thing should be second nature to you. What makes Jazzpunk so bonkers is what you actually find when you start poking around and rubbing things inappropriately against people. There are a fair few hidden games within the game, some of which are surprisingly fleshed out. If you have ever wanted to play a game of Quake with a wedding mod, then Jazzpunk has you covered. On top of that, there are seemingly endless references to just about anything. I smiled ear to ear when I found a Power Rangers reference hidden inside of a fruit bowl. Why was it there? I can’t believe you’re even asking.

To go with the crazy nonsensical nature of the game, you get to bask in its glorious art style. Think of Jet Set Radio smacked over the head with some Monty Python with a bit of cardboard and Suda 51 and you kind of have a rough idea what this game looks like. And whilst I did run into some unexplained framerate issues when exploring the wonderful world hidden inside of a pizza box, for the most part it runs smoothly.

Oculus Rift, eat your heart out.

Oculus Rift, eat your heart out.

With a name like Jazzpunk, you would expect it to have some half-decent music. Well, you would be right. Jazzpunk has a great soundtrack that perfectly fits the game’s theme, and whilst the voice acting is a bit pants, even that plays to the game’s strength.

The Verdict

What is Jazzpunk? Honesty, despite everything I have said, I have no bloody clue. But whatever it is, I like it. It may be short, but similar to Portal, it does not overstay its welcome and it does not allow itself to become the villain, if you catch my drift. This is a game that everyone should experience.

Case Review

  • Erm…?: A totally nonsensical story.
  • You Did Not Just Do That!: References! References everywhere!
  • Oh God, My Sides: Genuinely funny.
  • A Treat for the Senses: Looks and sounds awesome.
  • Shorty McLength: It is a little on the short side.
  • Framing Hiccups: There is some unexplained slowdown.
5
Score: 5/5
What the #$@&%! did I just play?

Appeal

Well now, this was interesting. Sadly, that's about the best thing to be said about Jazzpunk, and it comes with a heavy dose of sarcasm. If ever there was a game that exemplified the ADD internet generation to a T, Jazzpunk would be a heavy contender for the top bill. Opening with a plethora of colourful, rapidly shifting, often pulsing and flashing images with a very swinging sixties “do I make you horny baby?” backing track. We follow our secret agent protagonist, arriving in, it seems, Japan inside a cello case. There to be given a job by some chap who asks him to sit down on a whoopee cushion, gives him some drugs, then says he's going into the cellar, only to lay down under his desk and go to sleep.

That is probably actually the most sane thing about it. The rest devolves into a series of very short, very silly objectives that always give you something suitably madcap and obtuse to focus on. Simply put, the game is not for me. Not at all. It's clearly trying to be very tongue-in-cheek, offering some kind of social commentary on the stupidity of the modern world as viewed through the glasses of the average internet denizen that requires something new every fifteen seconds to stop their brain from constructing an original thought. For fear that such exertion would cause the whole thing to liquefy and leak out of their nose.

But the simple fact of the matter is that it is simply dumb. It's stupid, garish, obnoxious and trying way too hard. Somewhere along the way, somebody just lost sight of what they were aiming for, and became part of the very problem they hope to comment on. But then, maybe that was the plan all along.

2.5
Score: 2.5/5

Appeal

Jazzpunk, developed by Necrophone Games, is a first person adventure comedy game that actually delivers what it promises. Technology and espionage are its key elements, as you play the role of Polyblank, a secret agent assigned various missions by the agency’s top boss. The world you explore is a combination of Cyberpunk and 60’s spy films. As if this doesn’t grab your attention, then you have the comedy side, which gives this game its charm.

The humour is not so subtle that you will miss the jokes, nor is it so over-the-top that it becomes annoying. Visually, this game is simplistic; the characters you interact with resemble the stick figures you see on road signs. The environments are detailed and colourful, and interacting with objects in the world will often result in events you can chuckle at. The gameplay is lighthearted, and it plays like a spoof spy film, where the main character always has something funny happening to or around him. Besides the main missions you undertake, there are many side-missions that you can find in the environments, which will extend the playing time of the game and add some replayability.

Overall, Jazzpunk is an enjoyable game and as can be seen, inspirations have been drawn from classic spoof movies and spy thrillers. The tone of the game is very much like the LucasArts classic Grim Fandango. If you don’t mind this, and you’re looking for a game that offers some light and fun gameplay, then this is definitely for you.

4.5
Score: 4.5/5
Comments (4)
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Posts: 123

I want this game so bad it hurts.

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Posts: 1469

Reminds me of 30 Flights of Loving.

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Posts: 2552

I feel like 'that guy' now

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Posts: 1154

That sure does look craycray!