Jazzpunk
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

I’ll be the first to admit that the humor in Jazzpunk is not going to appeal to everyone, but you only need to check out the trailer to know if you’ll enjoy this game. It relentlessly spoofs all kinds of games and movies with gags coming at you thick and fast. There isn’t much of a challenge and the game is rather short but apart from that it is brilliant.

Gameplay: Open world exploration mixed in with some very humorous mini-games.

Graphics: Simple but very charming.

Sound: Very fitting

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Jazzpunk

Developer: Necrophone Games | Publisher: Adult Swim Games | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Jazzpunk opens with your character, Agent Polyblank, receiving a mission from his superior “The Director.” The mission involves infiltrating the Russian consulate but this game is no Splinter Cell. Set in an alternate reality where the Cold War is still raging, Polyblank must deal with robots, spies and some of the strangest gadgets ever seen in a game.

The creators cite comedy films such as Airplane and Naked Gun as major influences on the gameplay so if you are expecting any type of seriousness from Jazzpunk you are in for a shock. You are given an overall objective for each mission that is started by swallowing Missionoyl pills by the way, but after a level starts you are left to your own devices. I strongly suggest that you actually ignore your mission objective for as long as possible and explore the environments otherwise you will miss out on some of the best elements that the game has to offer.

What I love about Jazzpunk is that it is totally unpredictable. As you wander around the levels and interact with the environment you never know what is going to happen next. One minute you might be helping a frog to hack into the Wi-Fi of a coffee shop and the next shooting champagne corks at enemies in a Quake deathmatch style mini-game called “Wedding Quake.” It is a surreal but thoroughly enjoyable experience that had me laughing out loud all the time.

Viewed from a first person perspective, you guide Polyblank around the gameworld and interact with objects using a single action button. You can jump as well, but there is rarely any need to do so. Levels are generally quite small but packed with so many visual gags and references that it’s almost impossible to experience everything during a single playthrough. The comedy is very slapstick and the puns come at you thick and fast, but there is a lot more hits than misses. The gags and pop culture references probably won’t appeal to all players, but personally I had a blast. The game is unfortunately quite short, so spoiling any of the missions or side missions would be a crime, but if you find the trailer funny you will love the game. Jazzpunk is definitely a title that is best experienced by not knowing exactly what is in store for you.

The visuals are simplistic, but charming and match the humor perfectly. The game uses very basic shapes for all the characters and minimal animation, but the effect looks stylish instead of cheap. The soundtrack features “exotic percussion and home-made analog electronic instruments” which suit the style of the game to a T. The sound effects are just as brilliant and you’ll hear plenty of very familiar audio snippets while playing the game. Players that love finding Easter eggs in games will have a ball with Jazzpunk as it’s just packed with hidden references and mini-games.

As much fun as Jazzpunk is to play it doesn’t exactly pack a challenge. It is impossible to lose or do anything wrong, so provided you can follow simple instructions completing the game is a breeze. Personally I found it refreshing to just sit back and have fun with the game instead of having to redo sections or struggle with obscure puzzles but obviously not everyone will feel the same. You get your hands on a wacky assortment of gadgets during the course of the game, but these are discarded as soon as they have outlived their usefulness so you are never left wondering where to use certain items. The controls work well whether you are using a keyboard and mouse or controller, which is good as the game switches between several different genres for the mini-games.

It took me about three hours to complete the game and unlock every single Steam Achievement but I have a sneaking suspicion that I still missed a few gags. Jazzpunk is definitely worth at least two playthroughs if you want to experience everything. I really wish that I could say more about the game, but doing so would ruin some of the surprises that it has in store. I would have loved to see a few more locations in the game but really enjoyed the ones that are on offer. If you are not a fan of spoof comedy films and cartoons the humor in Jazzpunk is probably not going to appeal to you, but everyone else should definitely check it out.

*Review originally published February 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2 or higher
  • Processor: 1.80GHz Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • OS: OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard or higher
  • Processor: 1.80GHz Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or higher
  • Processor: 1.80GHz Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 512MB of VRAM
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space

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