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Old 10-04-2010, 12:01 AM   #1
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[XBLA] - Comic Jumper Review

Title: Comic Jumper
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA)
Platform Reviewed: Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA)
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studos
MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)
Release Date: October 6th, 2010
Writer: Adam 'pwnophobia' Cogswell

Comic Jumper Review

No jumping in here? That's too bad cause I look pretty dang cool when I jump!

I'm fairly certain that most of us have been on top of the world at one point in our lives. We have or can get just about everything, we can do anything and everyone loves us. Then in a blink of an eye were forced to shut it all down and find a new means to an end. For some of us that may mean packing it up and moving to another state and others it just means picking yourself up and finding a new job. For Captain Smiley and Star, it means they need to re-discover themselves in three genres while trying to appease the Twisted Pixel 'over lords'.

Comic Jumper sets you in the shoes of Captain Smiley and his biologically attached friend Star. Together the fearless duo starred in "The Adventures of Captain Smiley", a comic book that is published by (developers of the game) Twisted Pixel. When readers no longer enjoy the comic, Captain Smiley is forced to find another way to earn a living. After signing a new contract with Twisted Pixel he is off to aid the super heroes of comics past and present so he can re-gain his rightful place in his own series. The entire notion of the developers being in the game seems silly but it works fantastically. Twisted Pixel took the liberty of owning their own game and not letting anyone stop them from making fun of themselves, making fun of others and using their name to the full advantage. Every time I heard their name, saw their logo or even the actual developers in the game, I would laugh out loud. I couldn't put the controller down because I wanted to see what off the wall references and jokes they were going to make every time a new sequence came on.

When you start the game you're given a tutorial that is beautifully woven into the core showing you the different types of sections you'll face. While Comic Jumper is a 2.5D, side scrolling, shoot 'em up, it quickly jumps between those and a beat 'em up, light gun style play. I've moaned about monotony in beat 'em ups before saying that I was doing the same thing for hours on end and it felt like a grind to make it through. Thankfully this isn't the case with Comic Jumper because of the way Twisted Pixel broke up the fighting; one minute you'll be running along jumping and firing and the next you're falling down a building while moving your on-screen cursor to blow away BradBots (or other various forms of enemies).

Each comic comes equipped with three chapters, or new issues, and play similarly. They'll all start out with a cut scene that plays out in comic book style with panes flying in and out and chat bubbles above each characters head. They are fully animated and will having you laughing and chuckling so much that you'll probably forget that you're about to be attacked by ten enemies. Moving Captain Smiley a long the level you'll find yourself hanging from rafters or jumping through glass to dispose of the non-stop onslaught of enemies. As soon as you think you've mastered the run and gun side scrolling you'll quickly be tossed in a 3-D environment akin to light gun style play, then back to the 2.5D realm to blow away more enemies. Other levels will give Captain Smiley some way to fly and you'll have full access to the screen to move about avoiding bullets and more. It is really impressive how seamlessly Twisted Pixel has you transition between areas and how challenging each type of play is. Once you think you've masted one section you'll have an enemy that'll knock you back a peg and make you re-think that "gun and run" strategy that worked before.

A word for the wise: Do not go into this game thinking it is going to be an easy four or more hours of gameplay because Comic Jumper is hard. Remember playing old SNES or Sega Genesis games that were so difficult that you couldn't set the controller down because they made want to complete them? You're going to quickly have flash backs of playing Aladdin or Earthworm Jim where you're spending an extra twenty minutes on a single section. There is no way to tone down the difficulty either, so when you get to the portion of the game where you have to move around the screen avoiding bullets and flying mannequins, try and restrict the urge to toss your controller against the TV. Don't worry though, you have unlimited lives but you are going to want to try and not die because the less times you die the more money you receive.

As I previously mentioned you are fighting to re-gain the cash you lost when your comic went under. So at the end of every stage you'll get a tally of all the actions that you did in the game and are awarded cash depending on well you performed. You'll take your hard earned scratch and head over to the upgrade shop to get some more life or damage, or even buy extra items that add a cash multiplier to your win screens. To make you keep wanting to play you can also unlock more Splosion Man levels, Avatar Awards, a premium theme and even gamer pictures. Furthermore there are comics, art, videos and more to unlock with the cash and each one of them is viewable in the trophy room. These are all great incentives because Twisted Pixel throws their twist on humor in each one, giving you more entertainment for your $15.

Without a doubt Comic Jumper is the best arcade title you can buy this season. You're going to have so much fun laughing and playing the game that you'll want to head back in once you're done to unlock more items for you to view. If you've never heard of Twisted Pixel before this installment (how could you not have, you played Splosion Man and the Maw right?) you're going to be all too familiar with them and their humor by the time Comic Jumper is over. Mixing a bit of hardcore gaming and humor is all you could really ask for in a cheap title and you'd be letting a great gaming opportunity go by passing on this title.

Score: 5 out of 5

The Good
  • Responsive and simplistic controls.
  • Twisted Pixel did a great job with each comic's representation of the genre and period.
  • BEAUTIFUL graphics to accompany each panel.
  • Make sure to spend a lot of time in the headquarters, there are a ton of hidden gems.
The Bad
  • The core game is only about four hours, but you do have a challenge mode to play with.
The Ugly
  • The only ugly thing about this game is the fact that you haven't bought it yet!
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Old 10-04-2010, 12:01 AM   #2
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Posts: 6,123
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Money Earned: $136044
Shots Fired: 52210
Weeks Since Last Shower: 5
Deaths: 47
Total Time Spent Playing: 4:42:16
Favorite Food: Tofu Stir-fry

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Old 10-04-2010, 02:28 PM   #3
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This game is hilarious.
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Old 10-06-2010, 07:34 AM   #4
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Posts: 299
From the Man Pie podcast to this review, it seems like a definite must have. Still holding out to see if I might be a lucky winner this weekend. If not, will definitely be putting down the points for this one. I have toyed with both Splosion Man and the Maw but have yet to finish those titles. That's just my gaming ADD kicking in and not a reflection of the games. Really like what Twisted Pixel is putting out there. I remember an article in OXM a while back that put this one on my radar. Glad you folks liked it.
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comic jumper, in-house content, review

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