Wednesday, July 13, 2016


What the Hell did I Just Play?

Jazzpunk is a comedy adventure game produced by Canadian indie outfit Necrophone Games, and published by Adult Swim. That's about all I can say about this game with any sense of objectivity, as your enjoyment of this title, perhaps more than anything else I've played in recent years, is so incredibly dependent on very specific tastes. To be particular - it's a comedy driven title, so if you enjoy the humour, you'll have fun. If you don't, you won't. I was one of the people who didn't, but maybe there's an audience for this sort of thing who'll enjoy the whole experience a lot more than I.

The game is ostensibly set in a alternate Cold War 60's, populated by robots and other anachronistic technologies. You, as Agent Polyblank, are tasked with carrying out a series of vaguely-espionage themed missions aimed at... saving the world... I guess. Really, the premise is nothing more than a set up - a vehicle to place the gamer in front of as many computer-puns, surreal gags and pop culture references as possible. The actual interface and gameplay are very simple - you're given free reign to wonder around areas to solve your task, and there are a few skill and puzzle based sections, but nothing terribly taxing. Mostly you'll be moving through a world of whoopie cushions, spit-takes, vomiting seafood, robots falling over, and non-sequiters, before you eventually emerge at the end of the game, squinting in the sunlight, wondering what on earth just happened.

It's best described as taking the formula of Dear Esther and Gone Home and giving it an extremely surreal comedic twist. Fans of Family Guy and Archer might want to take note. Every one else might want to give it a miss.

This review was first published in Empire Times magazine.

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