Comic Jumper: the Adventures of Captain Smiley review
Twisted Pixel quickly jumped to the top of a lot of gamers favorite indie developers list with such awesome titles as The Maw and ‘Slosion Man. Unfortunately, Comic Jumper did not deliver the same excitement and entertainment that we had come to except from Twisted Pixel. Comic Jumper still came dripping with personality and humor, but it was in the repetitive gameplay and occasionally unresponsive controls that made the game present itself as cheap and unpolished.
The humor in Comic Jumper at times can be witty and funny, but most of the time it tried a bit too hard to mimic the campy, over-the-top kind of humor that we recently saw in Electronic Arts' Deathspank. Captain Smiley and his incredibly annoying partner, Star, who happens to be attached to his chest, bicker and argue back and forth like two little brothers. With the cancellation of their comic series, The Adventures of Captain Smiley, the two must guest star in other comics to try to get their readership back. The three other comic books they must appear in offers a change in atmosphere, a new storyline and very little else. The three comics are Nanoc the Obliviator, which is a caveman/fantasy world akin to Conan the Barbarian. Captain Smiley must help the great warrior, Nanoc; The Improbable Paper Pals, which is stylized in the likes of the 1960’s with cel-shaded graphics where he must defeat the anti-feminist, Mistress Ropes; and lastly, Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids, a blank and white styled manga, which Captain Smiley must save his once nemesis, Brad.
The change of comics and distinct change of style helps break up the repetitive gameplay only for a few moments, and then the realization comes about that just because the graphics change doesn't mean the game dynamics don't become tired. Comic Jumper, at its core, is a basic side-scrolling platform game where players rely heavily on melee attacks or their pistols for ranged attacks. The rarely seen on-rails shooter portion or quick-time events are a welcomed change, but even then, the games controls are not as responsive as one would hope and, at times, are downright frustrating.
As you force yourself to finish each level, you will be given the option to upgrade various abilities or to unlock content such as concept art and gamer pics. This homebase area is the most interesting part of the game as it allows players to interact with various characters, play the Maw or ‘Splosion Man demo or check in-game stats. In Twisted Pixel fashion, there is a catchy song that I could listen to over and over again (“Everyone loves donuts….I know I do!”) when the stat screen is opened. The song is adorable and the lyrics had me giggling the whole way through.
I am torn on Comic Jumper. At times it was amateurish due to the poor game design. Even one of the supporting characters, Star, would make jokes about bad checkpoint placement and so forth, but that doesn’t give it an excuse. I found myself fighting with the controls more than I found myself enjoying the game. While the dialogue was humorous, albeit annoying at times, it doesn’t catapult the title into the area of a worthy recommendation. So, with that being said, I have to say, Comic Jumper is a letdown.