Sunday, October 24, 2010

Review: Comic Jumper

Ah, Twisted Pixel, how you've lightened up our day with your wonderful XBLA games... if only it were the same with this one. Taking the place of Captain Smiley, your comic is canceled due to a heavy dose of suckage, and are forced into bankruptcy. Luckily, the folks at Twisted Pixel (breaking the fourth wall) offer to help Captain Smiley gather enough money to reboot his comic, by guest-starring in other ones.

As I started the game, I immediately fell in love with the characters and dialogue (I'd love if they made a movie based on these characters), but the gameplay didn't immediately strike me as oh-so amazing. The premise is great, especially how it breaks the fourth wall and has tons of tongue-in-cheek humor pertaining to all the comic book cliches, especially during the second comic, where it's a take on old 50's comics, full of self-aware feminism and racism.

However, that's about where the gameplay makes you want to drive a drill through your temple, as it's a complete basic run and gun style sidescrolling with a few too many on-rails section. There's absolutely no variety and it's a terrible grind. Many of the sections have too many enemies at once, but even the best player will find even with full upgrades, it takes a little long to kill the enemies. Chances are, you get smacked around often, but even with great skill, you don't care enough to try your best.

The only thing that pushes you through the game is the eagerness to see the next bit for the story and dialogue. However, even in some sections it's a pain. For example, reaching the third comic, a manga, instead of just going with usual anime cliches, they surpass the stereotypes to the point where they're not even funny anymore, a-la Glee.

In there, as well, is probably one of the rare moments I've ever ragequit (keep in mind I still picked up the game a few hours later and beat it), where you fight a certain boss a second time. However, as you get it to near-death, it heals itself fully. Not once, but TWICE this ridiculous event happens. The worst part is your character complains how bullshit it is that it happened, as if it excuses it. It's like a chef serving a horrid meal, joking about how bad it tastes while you're eating it.

But, I digress, I'm just turning this into a rant.

The Verdict:

The characters and dialogue, once again, are comedic gold, and are worth the $15 to hear everything. At the most, I can only give a hesitant recommendation, just for everything but the gameplay, but don't blame me if you give up on some of the levels. It's sad to see things like this happen come from the company who brought in Splosion Man.

What I liked:
The characters, dialogue, the clever and creative visual and narrative styles used for the different comics

What I didn't like:
The repetitive, bland, grinding gameplay

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