Jazzpunk is a refreshingly silly adventure game that is eager to tickle your funny bone. Players step into the shoes of Polyblank, a secret agent working for a transatlantic, espionage agency who provide the games missions via a bizarre dose of fictional medicine. Players are then able to explore small areas, finding silly things to interact with and mini-games to play off the critical path.
Jazzpunk feels like one big parody of 50s/60s spy fiction, film noir and a little bit of retro futuristic cyber-punk and is both faithful and cheesy as you might expect.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Jazzpunk is it’s art direction.Various flourishes throughout the game seem to be inspired by postmodern and Russian avant-garde art movements and the game’s vibrant cartoony environments are populated by characters resembling bathroom door symbols. It’s an interesting choice that gives the game a nice unique look and often plays into the comedy. A great recurring joke that pops up throughout the game has the player use a wand that resembles a pointing hand to do various actions as the character has no defined limbs of their own.
Among the game’s zany tasks, players must use an electromagnetic device to degauss pigeons, race remote control gravy boats in a gravy filled pool and spray an aristocrat with aerosol cheese. Some activities are straight up parodies of films and games for example players can visit a cinema and annoy fellow patrons with cigar smoke and throw popcorn like Robert De Niro in Cape Fear and there’s another great mini game called Wedding Quake, a deathmatch FPS set in a church with champagne bottle guns and an announcer who will bellow words like “Matrimony!” and “Prenuptial agreement!”
Visual gags are forefront in Jazzpunk with emphasis on slapstick and cartoonish japes. Anyone who is familiar with Monty Python, the Naked Gun series or Ren & Stimpy will have an idea of what to expect and your opinion of those should influence whether this is something for you.
The humour in general is low brow and irreverent but unabashedly so. There’s an instant where a character will ask you to take a seat on a chair that clearly has a whoopie cushion planted on it and even though I knew exactly what would happen, it still got a hearty laugh from me. There are a few times when the humor falls flat and you can expect plenty of puns and Dad jokes that induce a groan but are part and parcel with the overall cheesy nature of the game and never detract from it overall.
It’s rare to find a game like Jazzpunk where the experience is focused on delivering a stream of jokes and tell a loose story and very little else. In the two short hours it takes to complete, you won’t experience any game over screens or any risk/reward gameplay, though that isn’t to say you won’t be entertained.
Much like a joke losing it’s impact the more you’ve heard it, Jazzpunk doesn’t offer much incentive to revisit and it should be up to any potential player to take this into consideration before purchasing. Jazzpunk is however worth a look for those who’d like to play something a bit different and are craving a bit of silliness in their games.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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