Jazzpunk: Director's Cut, developed and published by Necrophone Games, is a first-person comedy adventure that takes place in an alternate reality version of the world during the Cold War era. It sets out to tell the tale of espionage and cyber crime with more than a truck load of gags mixed in. Originally releases on PC in 2014, the title has made it's way to console along with all the bright, abstract, and colorful graphics (and the humor) that made it the unique experience the first time around.
The game is extremely unique to itself; it's strange, abstract, and humorous, yet it all somehow makes sense in it's own awkward way (sometimes). You'll play as the spy protagonist Polyblank, who upon ingesting some prescription pills, inside a broken down train car with a heavily muffled British director, that no sane person would trust taking, embarks on top secret missions. The missions play-out in pretty familiar ways, such as infiltrate a specified location or agency and collect something. The core of mission design could not be any further from anything important though as the adventure and gags lie heavily in the small yet packed environments you'll walk around. There's way too many gimmicks and gags to express, none the less be able to pick one in particular that could summarize them all, you'll get a lot of diversity. You'll play mini games that feel almost like parodies to others such as a side scrolling brawler that resembles some of the classics, or one where you assist a talking frog across the street in complete Frogger fashion.
Occasionally they'll be first-person shooter styled, or maybe even something as simple and pointless as dragging your finger across a guys face to remove cookie crumbles. The moments of comedy which are incredibly corny, and sometimes may either fly over your head or just outright seem like try-hard attempts, are more than frequent throughout. The more people you interact with the more you'll find. I found myself exploring the environments more so than focusing on the mission at hand (I'm a horrible spy), but I couldn't always justify it by the side interactions. I was lost a good amount of time, not knowing what to do or where to go, and the game gave only vague objectives with little to no actual help. Eventually you'll find your way and will have experienced much more on your short trips, but once you've seen the gags and humor, you've seen them all, just not all the variations.
Sound and Graphics
There's a lot of voice acting to take in while playing. Majority of the characters you'll interact with will spew robotic sounding nonsense or it may even be blanketed with horribly awkward sounding accents. It soaks up the opportunity to throw in as many curve balls as possible regarding speech with sarcasm, witty, plain dorky, and some mature statements. Sometimes they'll fly right over your head and you'll think its failing pretty hard, but other times it'll give you a small chuckle (unless you find everything hilarious, then you'll perhaps laugh a good amount). The music takes inspiration from jazz music, noir themes, and spy related movies; a high point for the title.
The design of the game is a mix between paper cutouts and cardboard boxes; some characters have a 3D model, while others things will look the part, but then have no depth to them. For example, during you first mission as you try to infiltrate the conciliate, you run around a 3D courtyard full of paper cutout trees where you'll see multiple other spies in trench coats hanging around. Then as you turn, you catch a glimpse of one peaking behind a tree, only to inspect and find that the tree (very thin) is a paper cutout. As you turn around, he's being another tree across the yard. It's confusing but that's the kind of weird tricks the game plays on you regarding depth and randomness. Everything is colorful and unique (sometimes way too unique), making for an incredibly strange world that'll encourage you to checkout every nook and cranny.
To say Jazzpunk is a game for a slow afternoon is being rather modest; a single play through will last roughly 2 to 3 hours depending on how many of the gags and mini-games you explore for. Playing through it multiple times won't yield too many new results other than maybe some exploring you may have missed the first time, or if you genuinely really enjoy everything about the game. The art style of it is unique with the bright colors and creative, almost paper cutout designed world and characters, gives it a certain flair that is pretty attractive to look at. My only complaint is that it isn't in 60 frames-per–second. Many games can get away with it, but match that with an unwanted "look smoothing," I unfortunately felt it was a little headache inducing in small rooms. If you watch Adult Swim, or are interested in a game that has no bounds of normality, then this is the right game for you, but be aware of some of the downsides it has.
|+ Creative art style with bright, vibrant colors||– Short playthroughs|
|+ Humorous and tons of jokes (personal preference)||– Tons of lame jokes (personal preference)|
|+ Noir and spy themes are always cool||– May cause headaches for some|