A Cacophony Of Half-Baked Humor - JazzPunk - PC - www.GameInformer.com
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JazzPunk

A Cacophony Of Half-Baked Humor

Critics and players alike often laud indie developers for their dogged pursuit of unconventional ideas and their willingness to forgo commercial success for the sake of an artistic vision. While JazzPunk certainly has no shortage of style and creativity, the robot-infused spy adventure game has more in common with a Mel Brooks screwball comedy than anything you would find in the Smithsonian. I'm glad Necrophone Games doesn't take itself too seriously, but even if you buy the so-bad-it's-good premise, Jazzpunk's production values are a drain on the entertainment.

Wackiness pervades the adventure. Even though your spy-based mission objectives are simple and straightforward (tail a subject, replace a target's briefcase with a duplicate, etc.), each level is loaded with random activities, mini-games, and absurd interactions. Over the course of the game, I helped a frog hack a coffee shop's wi-fi signal, played a pizza-themed zombie video game, threw popcorn at annoyed theater goers, had relations with a sex robot, photocopied my butt, and called up Satan from inside the Soviet consulate – and that was just the first level.

JazzPunk's sense of humor has all the sophistication of a carnival funhouse, but the sheer oddity on display had me clicking on every object and character to see what they would do. Despite all of the bad computer puns and corny sight gags, Necrophone's kitchen-sink approach throws so many jokes at you that some are bound to hit. I had my share of chuckles and even a belly laugh or two, but much of the game feels like it's weird for the sake of being weird. I would have liked to see JazzPunk explore some more elaborate comedic scenarios (like the villain's final series of challenges), but the overwhelming simplicity of the game design limits the humor to mostly one-off gags, which get old after a time.

JazzPunk's production values speed up that process, and are downright grating. The simplistic visuals have a passable charm, but other aspects like the barebones animation and public domain sound effects (fans of the Wilhelm Scream are in for a surprise!) just feel cheap. The voice work is especially terrible, and the robot effect applied to characters doesn't hide the fact that it sounds like dialogue was recorded over a webcam. I get what JazzPunk is going for – I'm well-versed in B-movies and games that are hilariously awful – but at some point bad just becomes bad again, and the game tiptoes down that line with the grace of a hippopotamus.

Playing through JazzPunk only takes a few hours, but complaining about this game's length would be like complaining that you only got to spend four hours in a Spencer Gifts. It's more than enough time to be submerged in JazzPunk's style of humor, and the poor production values ensured I was ready for air by the time credits roll. Play it for the novelty and the rapid-fire assault of jokes, but don't be surprised if most of them miss the mark.

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User Reviews:

  • 8.00
    (Light Jazzpunk spoilers ahead) Jazzpunk is a game that will only appeal to a very specific and niche group of people. If you are the type of person who can appreciate stupidity and find the humor amidst the absurdity of life, Jazzpunk is a game for you. I'm happy that I'm a part of this group...
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  • 7.00
    I don’t know what I expected. Watching the visual treat of the first trailers for Jazzpunk , I couldn't even begin to get a grasp on what this game would play like. But the poppy art and the retro attitude had me sold, and the game has sat on the top of my Steam wishlist for months. Finally...
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