Comic Jumper is the new game from Twisted Pixel – the same guys that brought us two other XBLA hits in Splosion Man, and The Maw. Will their luck with Arcade titles continue for a triple play, or has their four-leaf clover run out of juice?
Story: You play as Captain Smiley – a comic book hack. The first level is basically a tutorial where you get introduced to the other people from your own comic (Love Brad’s theme song), and it’s after that level that the story gets started. Everyone hates Captain Smiley comics because…..well…..he really sucks. Because Captain Smiley comics double as toilet paper, the comic goes bankrupt, and Twisted Pixel buys them out.
Rather than try to make a stand-alone Captain Smiley comic again, the folks at Twisted Pixel turn Captain Smiley into sort of a “Rent-A-Hero”. He uses a ship (ready for the name? it’s the Comic Jumper) to jump from his building to other comics and missions. There is quite a bit of humor along the way – and about 75% of it is crude and dirty (which means I love it), and the star on your chest has some of the best lines.
Gameplay and Controls: Comic Jumper has a few different gameplay mechanics of note. First it’s a side-scrolling beat ’em up, second, it’s a side-scrolling shoot ’em up, third, it features odd mini-game type sections (like sliding down a hill, trying to avoid blocks and birds), and fourth, it features some mini quick time events. It’s all well and good, but it does start to get old after a while. While the controls are pretty smooth and fluid, it becomes apparent very quickly that Comic Jumper doesn’t really bring much new to the table.
When you’re back in your apartment after a mission, you can use money that you’ve been paid to upgrade yourself in a number of different ways, or buy some special unlockables. You can also explore your apartment and look at trophies, play some demo games, or even check a myriad of stats (some of which are really funny)
Graphics: Comic Jumper features a comic book art style (no….really), and it does it pretty well. The colors are bold and crisp, and the backgrounds make me feel like I’m actually inside an old comic book. Seeing things like “POW”, “Blam”, and the like are nice touches to help with the comic book immersion. The comic style changes throughout the game, as you traverse different “eras” of comics (the Manga Captain Smiley/Cloud Strife look is too damn funny), which means one type of comic doesn’t have the time to feel over-used before it switches out.
Sound: The voice acting in Comic Jumper is really good – it’s probably the best thing about the game. As I said earlier, there are some really funny dialogue lines (although it gets REAL annoying hearing Greta say the same things constantly), and they really made me want to keep playing to see what would be said next.
Wishes: I don’t know what, but Comic Jumper is definitely missing SOMETHING to keep it going. The Challenge missions are nice, but they miss their mark for long-term playability. I know it’s only an Arcade title, but I wish there was more to it.
Final Thoughts: While Comic Jumper is fairly lenghty for an XBLA game, I found that I really had to force myself to keep going at points. Dialogue shouldn’t be your only reason for playing something – there should be more of a fun factor. While the quick time events are a nice change in the monotony of a game style that’s showing it’s age, they’re not enough to carry Comic Jumper past simply “mediocre”. I give this a 2.5 Michelas out of 5.
Developed and Published by Twisted Pixel Games
Reviewed on Xbox 360 (exclusive)