There have been a lot of First Person adventure games coming out over the past year, but until this past week I can’t think of many that can boast the comedic styling of a good David Zucker (Airplane, Naked Gun, Basketball) movie. Developed by Necrophone Games and published by Adult Swim Games, Jazzpunk fits that mold well.
In Jazzpunk, you are a spy going on various missions to retrieve random items for your boss. They can be recordings, attache cases, and even someone’s liver. The games mechanics are a point and click interface from a First Person view. There is no cursor on the screen, so the game will highlight an object you can interact with. You collect said items to use later in your current mission only, or interact with items on a one time basis, and nearly everything has a purpose for a joke.
The aesthetic of the game presents a very colorful world, and definitely feels like what I would expect from a game published by Adult Swim Games. The NPCs are my favorite elements, as they look like they were influenced by a gender symbol on a restrooms sign, and now that I told you that, you won’t be able to unsee it. The opening sequence really impressed me, as the production blew me away. You might just forget you’re actually playing a game, and think you’re watching an opening to a classic spy television show or film.
Whether it be soundtrack, sound effects, or voice acting, the audio in this game truly helps to immerse you in the world they have created. I enjoyed the soundtrack, but the sound effects are what really stand out in this game. The audible cues for gags stick with you, and help add an extra element to the humor portrayed. At times it was reminiscent the old Adam West Batman television show with the way some of the sounds were used. The voice acting features ridiculous dialogue and exaggerated accents. I loved the valley girls at the resort, especially one that kept repeating the same phrase in different ways.
While I loved the games visual and audio styling, it is the humor of this game that makes it so damn good and laugh out loud funny. As I stated during the intro, it truly does feel like a spy game directed by David Zucker. It captures the spontaneous randomness of those classic comedies like Airplane and Naked Gun. Both in expected and unexpected ways. Even while I was taking a break from the main story and exploring the locations in the game, I was presented with plenty of gags to keep the comedy flowing. I wish I could be more specific, but this is a game you need to experience the comedy for yourself.
There are numerous Easter eggs in this game, but none that stand out quite like the mini-games you can find just by interacting with certain objects you come across during missions. The first one I found to be a cute spoof of a classic game and I snickered at it. As you go through the game they shine brighter and brighter. To name a few, there is a pizza zombie horror game, another where you play as a cat trying to destroy as any expensive items in a house as possible, and my absolute favorite, Wedding Qake. Wedding Qake is a parody of Quake in which you are battling other wedding attendees with champagne bottles, a gatling gun wedding cake, and a rose launcher. Thankfully when the game is over you can go back and play Wedding Qake anytime you please, but that seemed to be the only one available to me after completion of the game.
Knowing Adult Swim Games’ publishing record I was sure I’d find a fun experience, but I was surprised at just how fun and humorous this game actually is. The game kept me laughing consistently, which is a hard thing to pull off in any type of medium, let alone video games. I spent plenty of time searching each area for Easter eggs, and knowing I missed some, I am eager to dive right back in and find the rest. As for any negatives, I really could not pinpoint any issues I had with the game. As I played through the game I never once found myself wishing they had done something differently or complaining about design choices. There are times when I was not able to figure out an objective easily, but I never spent too long finding the solution necessary to continue with the story.
Final Verdict: I think the best praise I can give Necrophone Games’ Jazzpunk is that I kept referring to it as a show as I wrote this review. I truly feel this was almost like experiencing an interactive cartoon, more than just playing through a video game. This game is a must buy if you’re looking for a purely entertaining experience.
The Steam version of Jazzpunk was provided for review by Adult Swim Games. I completed the game in a little over 2 hours with 33% of the achievements. Jazzpunk will be available on Steam for $14.99 ($11.99 during launch week) on February 7th 2014.