Where do I begin? Although Jazzpunk is clearly made out of clichés run together at high speeds, it’s an incredible and unique creation. Walk around a pastel-colored cyber metropolis where everyone is a cartoonish outline similar in construction to a restroom gender sign, where half the people on the street wear trench coats and have secret ambitions, and those ambitions are unpredictable, dangerous, and completely idiotic. Then set it all to moog synthesizers, bossa nova, and bongo drums.

So what is Jazzpunk? It’s a crazy comedy adventure targeted at the pop cultured, the technologically versed, and anyone with a sense of humor. It’s also the only game where I have burned multiple people’s faces with food, made out with a hobo (twice), and thrown a jar of spiders on an unsuspecting sushi chef. It’s made by Necrophone Games, who is sponsored by Adult Swim.

Jazzpunk starts with the 1960’s boiled down to its core stereotypes—where pop art and Peter Max meet James Bond and Saul Bass—then it’s crashed into the brutality and sticky wetware of 1990’s Cyberpunk explosion, all directed by the slap-happy hands of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker, makers of Airplane! and The Naked Gun. It’s a madhouse of tropes that get hit in the face with pies before they can finish executing what we expect of them.

The humor is excellent. Through proper timing, denying our expectations, and people getting hurt constantly, the jokes never fail to amuse, even if not all of them are laugh-out-loud funny. But don’t mistake it for a comedy film; Jazzpunk is absolutely a game. A majority of the humor requires some degree of interactivity, including exploring, minigames, long quests, and puzzles. Jazzpunk is a game where you rarely stop moving, where there is almost always an easter egg in the next room, where things are just an inch away from hilarious.

Yet its interactivity also makes it demanding. The game itself is about three or so hours long, give or take your skill at poking around and finding easter eggs. Or, if you’re a cretin, you could just play the main storyline, miss the point entirely, finish the game in an hour, and spend the rest of your day eating paint.

For anyone who’s ever attended a long comedy show, even if the comedian is hilarious, after a while you find your capacity to laugh waning, and your standards for humor waxing. This isn’t helped by the fact that the level in the middle of the game is one of the weakest, with huge amounts to explore and little to find. One can start to feel fatigue sneaking up on you, but I was pleased to discover that the game quickly picked itself up, dusted itself off, and delivered a fantastic few levels for the end.

Overall, I think this cost Jazzpunk a perfect verdict, but don’t get me wrong. I love this game.

Even if you aren’t much for the comedic game, Jazzpunk is something to experience, and I recommend it to you.



For PC, Mac, and Linux

Currently available for $15 on Steam and the Humble Store.

Tags: , ,