Jazzpunk is a unique game with a style all its own that feels like a surrealistic 1950s retro spy meets Ren and Stimpy cartoon silliness. You play in a first person perspective, interacting with several things, exploring rich, colorful, living, breathing surrealistic areas. The surrealistic art style blends with the humor really well. The only controls are jump and action buttons with left stick to move, and right stick to look around. You can get items and switch between them. There are plenty of mini games that feel more like diversions to keep you engaged. Its parodies of other games and media, yet it feels distinctly like its own product.
You work for a spy agency that sends you to far away locales with serious objectives, things like infiltrate a USSR building, follow a cowboy in Japan to get his mechanical kidney, infiltrate a criminal’s lavish retro penthouse and you’ll even be sent on a Polynesian vacation. There are spies, madmen, robots, crazy bums and women around every corner.
The big feature here for me is the interactivity and exploration. You can interact with boxes, newspaper machines, spray pigeon perfume on NPCs to see pigeons carry them away, drink mouthwash only to discover its chlorine, use a master baster on a turkey, freeze a frozen meal in a microwave, scribble lipstick on your face, collect spiders in a jar to throw them at people, break every vase in a shop trying to swat flies. It all feels so interesting and engaging to do what I want to in this crazy world. While NPCs are faceless box people (or robots) with circle heads, NPCs say several things, most of which are hilarious and I don’t usually like comedy in games. The eccentric off the wall comedy and parody really hit the mark for me, when most comedy games feel forced.
Jazzpunk parodies several games like Frogger, Wave Race in a fountain of gravy, mini golf with pool cues, virtual tennis, Wedding Quake against a bride, groom and priest, a zombie pizza game, a high score game where you play a cat ripping things to shreds, a game of Twister, finding prizes with a metal detector and so much more. It all kept me playing, even if it all was just easy fun.
It is definitely worth a playthrough, I found myself taking far too many screen shots at the crazy things I’d see. Things in the background, men in cullender hats with wheeled pigs on the background and my radio tooth on the floor. Its never in your face, its all just there for you to find it.
There is no death in the game, even if you plunge off of the fourth floor of your Polynesian hideaway, you still bounce on the ground. With that being said, you can still fail the mini games. Frogger took quite a beating and I lost a lot in Wedding Quake before I realized the rose rocket launcher was win. It is an easy game, again, the point is to explore, interact and laugh.
Is it worth the $15? Maybe and I’m surprised to say that, even if its only 2 or 3 hours to complete. The ending came pretty abruptly and even the credits have their own flare to them. I can imagine its not for everyone and I never thought it would be for me. I am shocked at how much enjoyment I got from Jazzpunk and I might have to play through it again.