WHAM! BAM! F***! THAT'S A FINE!
Twisted Pixel has been doing very well with their first two original games, The Maw and ‘Splosion Man. But with their third outing based on the many eras of animation styles filled with constant humor and very challenging yet fun gameplay, they have made Comic Jumper the best in their collection so far.
Following superhero Captain Smiley and his chest-embedded sidekick Star, their short lived action comic book series has been a failure. To help Smiley get back on track, developer Twisted Pixel games agree to fund his return series. In order to do so, Captain Smiley must do some jobs in helping other comic books based on different styles of animation. The Fantasy age takes influence of washed out imagery and Conan The Barbarian (even an Arnold Schwarzenegger-like character appears), the Silver Age details the many censorship regulations during its time in the mid-20th Century and Manga showing a very stylized approach with narration from right to left.
Through 11 levels, the plot always gets over the top and sometimes gets confusing but thanks to the constant amount of metahumor appearing almost all the time, it makes perfect sense to have things like Twisted Pixel and cinematics of people reading the comic book integral to the story. There are so much outside jokes between Smiley and Star and other humorous sections that is better left experienced.
Each style is visually beautiful and unique from each other. Although fundamentally similar, it’s great to see their attention to detail with the looks of the enemies. Captain Smiley and Star have the most distinctive differences when traveling through the eras. While during the fantasy age they looks grimey and buff, the Manga section defines them as a completely cute and happy looking.
Captain Smiley's progress transitions are by panels, similar to reading comics. To compliment that, the game is played in a 2D side scrolling perspective from left to right (while the Manga issues are in reverse directions). Generally, Captain Smiley fights his many foes using guns using the right stick to aim and right trigger to shoot. He can freely maneuver while shooting and jump like pie by using the left trigger. No other inputs are needed but when times are tough, the Y button calls out Twisted Pixel to destroy every enemy on screen.
Those helps don’t come all the time as they need to be earned through beat ‘em up sequences. That and many others including rail sections and quick time events occasionally appear and are very fun to play.
When not in a comic book issue, Captain Smiley’s home base along with the pause menu serves as the main menu. Players can communicate with characters from the game as well as replay missions and do special challenges for higher scores that can be used to upgrade Captain Smiley’s abilities and unlock bonus content including behind the scene videos and various artwork pieces.
Twisted Pixel has done it again with Comic Jumper. This is not for everyone though thanks to the difficulty but if you can survive the trouble and also enjoy non sequitur humor, this is definitely a fun game to download and play on your Xbox 360.