Captain Smiley - A must play game
Twisted Pixel has produced an experience that is both funny and full of unlockable "behind-the-scenes" extras that make up for challenging---frustrating all too often--gameplay. It is a must play game for aspiring game creators, comic book fans, and anyone who has $15 bucks burning a hole in his or her pocket. Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley is a worthwhile game that has some major problems in the "game" department.
Be ye forewarned, Comic Jumper is a side-scrolling platform / twin-stick shooter that is poorly balanced in its difficulty from level to level, and may cause the player to throw a controller at a Sony Bravia or two. Each level represents a period in comic history and popular art styles of the time; Modern Comics, Fantasy, Silver Age, and Manga Comics are all represented rather well but that's where the good times end. Enemies spawn seemingly on top of the player, weapons feel weak and the checkpoints feel unnecessarily punishing, sometimes placing the player several screens away from an almost defeated boss. Using the left stick to move, right to aim and holding down right trigger to fire is simple enough; however, dodging burning tires, heart bats from outer space, flying flaming skulls of death all while "riding" your steed presents a challenging problem, when upon death the player is set back to the beginning of the level to tread through the same section several times over. With no way to regain health lost while receiving a pummeling from the many advisories in the game, being set back to the beginning of a challenging section feels like a slap in the face. At the risk of sounding absolutely crazy, getting hit in the face by this game is the fun part.
It has been a long time since I've personally played a game that made me feel anything close to anger and hatred for the developers; the last was Mega Man 9, 10 and the first being Ninja Gaiden (Xbox). Each challenging section, as horrible as it may be put together, is doable. Upgrades may be purchased to make your time playing the game easier (buying extras from the game's upgrade vendor also increase your point tally at the end of levels--points used to buy more upgrades), and the dialog between the main characters is so entertaining that you'll find yourself dying on purpose to hear the different conversations or re-hear something you might have missed because you died. The game's dialog and story are so good and full of nerd in-jokes that it makes it worth the money to see the many surprises that lay 'n wait for the player.
The game part of this game sucks...it sucks so bad that I'm willing to pay 400 Microsoft points for DLC to add random health drops, a new comic genre level and brand new dialog....just sayin'.
For a more technical review of the game read Jeff's review on this site.