Jazzpunk: Finally the Spies are Taking Acid.
Jazzpunk is the most original game I’ve played in a long while. It’s also the most mechanically simple game I’ve played in a while—it’s just pointing and clicking. These things can certainly help each other out though. You see, Jazzpunk is an absurd satirical take on the Spy universe as we’ve come to know it. In it you will see familiar things such as agents in trench coats, femme fatales, and exotic locations—two of those things look a lot like parts of bathrooms. You’ll also see a ridiculous number of jokes crammed into this game; the jokes being what this game is all about.
You play as an agent of an agency that takes jobs that require you to do secret agent stuff. You meet up with your boss in his hidden in plain view office, you get your assignment and then he gives you some drugs. Once you take the drugs the next thing you know your in the mission. The mission objectives are laid out in plain english for you: infiltrate soviet building, get documents, leave with the documents without harm. Seems straight forward enough, but in between figuring out how to complete one objective to the next you will stumble upon, trip over, and fall face first into gag after gag. This is the meat of Jazzpunk’s content: the jokes. And boy are there a lot of them. Not all are winners, but that’s ok because if one didn’t do it for you the next one surely will, or maybe the one after that, or maybe your just dead inside and nothing will ever bring joy to your life.
I found Jazzpunk to be if not funny at least amusing. If a joke didn’t crack me up I was at least amused by it’s cleverness or how bizarre it was. I don’t wan’t to spoil any of the jokes here, but some of my favorites involved a turtle, a shower, and a wedding cake, respectively.
As I said before the gameplay devolves to pointing at an object and clicking on the object—with the few exceptions of some brilliant mini-games. The point and click works well in the spy setting in that you must be highly aware of your surroundings and not let anything slip by you—especially a joke. The only problem is how tedious this becomes if you’re like me and don’t want to miss out on any of the jokes. Sitting and clicking on an NPC waiting for repeat dialogue, just to ensure you get every joke they have to deliver becomes tedious and kills the mood. But is this really the fault of the games or my own greed? There are puzzles but nothing too intricate or confounding. I will say there were a few times I got stuck on a puzzle that made me run around an area clicking on every thing trying to find the next step to only go back and see I just had to look at the puzzle from a slightly different angle to get it to highlight where I needed to click next. This was frustrating but these instances were far and few between and felt more like bad luck than anything else.
Jazzpunk does something well that few games do: humor. It’s got a very absurd take on well worn tropes and does everything with a sense of style. Everything from the look of it to the soundtrack works in it’s favor and gives it a sexy 60’s spy flare on top of it’s simple aesthetics. This game has the style and the balls to do and try something different from any other game I’ve played before it, and I think that it is well worth the small time commitment (3-4 hours) it takes to complete.