The lights are on
Twisted Pixel's next XBLA game melds humor, action, and style throughout its E3 demo. We got an extended look at several levels of Comic Jumper, the latest game from the makers of The Maw and 'Splosion Man. Our time with the game made it clear that this latest title is by far the most ambitious from the developer to date. Comic Jumper tells the tale of Captain Smiley and his journey through four distinct comic book worlds. We finally know the full lineup of environments. A modern comic style starts the game off. But there's also a Conan-esque barbarian world, a Silver Age comics world in the style of Jack Kirby books, and a final manga style that promises to be zany in the extreme.
As Smiley (and his irksome, foul-mouthed uniform insignia Star) move through the world, they will be accompanied by over three hours of sploken voice acting to help tell the game's amusing tale. The game has no trouble breaking the fourth wall in the cause of silliness. One special attack summoned the floating head of Twisted Pixel's bearded CTO, Frank, as he headbutts all the enemies on screen.Beyond four distint visual styles, the game tries to vary its action as well. 2D sidescrolling sections vacillate between Contra-style battles and close-up melee exchanges. Occasionally, the view pans back behind the character for a Space Harrier-style shooting gallery sequence. Throughout the fight, Smiley's onscreen appearance changes to show his state of health. Normally brightly colored, he'll begin to fade away to a sketch the closer he gets to dying.
As players explore the game, they'll collect money. With it, they'll be able to buy upgrade character attributes like attacks and health, but also a huge amount of unlockable content that is included in the game. There are interviews with the voice actors, concept art, full Captain Smiley comics, and a model viewer, among other things. Our favorite sequence we played came to pass in the Silver Age comic era. There, a women's suffragette nemesis named Mistress Ropes is using her invisible ropse of suffrage to attack the ignorant men around her, and Smiley must put a stop to it. As he arrives, the comics authority of the day has lots to say about Star's foul mouth and Smiley's violent takedowns. During our playtime, the action seemed fast and challenging. The gunplay feels good, with a full 360 degrees of rotation on his gun shooting. Melee was also fun, with the ability to punch and kick through hordes of attacking enemies. Comic Jumper is likely to release later this year, in all likelihood after the completion of Microsoft's Summer of Arcade promotion in July and August. There's no price point as of yet.
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