Top Critic Average
In many respects, Jazzpunk's systems are unremarkable. Its puzzles are rudimentary, its interactions mostly basic and its tasks are often wilfully mundane. At times, it attempts jokes that miss their target, sometimes by a distance. And yet such is its fearless, relentless commitment to amusing you and surprising you that you'll know something better – or perhaps just something weirder – is just around the corner. Anarchic, baffling, sometimes downright silly, and often inspired, Jazzpunk works tirelessly to make you laugh and gasp. The frequency with which you'll do both is a testament to a bold new talent, and Necrophone Games deserves all the plaudits that will be thrown its way in the coming weeks.
Jokes fly at the player like angry hornets from the hive, hinging on intimate knowledge of games like Warcraft II or Quake, and the references swarm and sting. There are more than enough punchlines, but there's too little setup.
When all's said and done, that's a fantastic way to take a break from reality for a couple of hours. For all my gripes, I'll be surprised if any other game this year makes me laugh as much as Jazzpunk did.
Jazzpunk ends with an unconventional boss fight culminating in an excellent subversion of boss-battle tropes. If the whole game were as smart as the final confrontation, it'd be a much easier recommendation. As it stands, I still don't know whether its worst jokes are intentionally bad or not.
Perhaps I don't need to tell you that this game made me laugh - not gently or under duress of slow realisation, but in staccato outbursts which alarmed and unsettled passers-by.
As a "game" Jazzpunk could be completed in less than an hour, but running through to complete the story would be missing most of what makes it so enjoyable. The game (and its achievements) are structured in a way that encourage players to wander around and see everything there is. Even having completed the game I'll be going back through it again, just to catch some of the things I missed.
In all likelihood, you won't see everything that Jazzpunk has to offer the first time around. There are zingers tucked away in every nook-and-cranny that will only reveal themselves to you if you want them to. In so many cases, you are the key to the punchline. Without you, the clever quips stay hidden and will remain unearthed until you say so. Jazzpunk invites you to get involved in the comedy and, in many ways, become the butt of the joke. Funnily enough, there actually is a butt joke in there.
Jazzpunk is uniquely ridiculous and undeniably hilarious. It's not afraid of making you work to find all the funny, which turns even the tiniest throwaway joke into something special.
Jazzpunk projects exactly what its eccentric name implies; a hilarious adventure with an unwieldy rhythm and paradoxically predictable narrative-uncertainty, all of which draws fuel from a seemingly endless source of energy. Jazzpunk may share its mission with the likes of Incredible Crisis or LSD: Dream Emulator, but as the titular flag bearer for its invented style, it's now the standard. Jazzpunk is so jazzpunk.
Not loving Jazzpunk is as difficult as classifying it. Few games are this confidently weird, and even fewer manage to pull off anything even resembling humour. If you're looking to laugh a lot, and maybe even think about stuff just a little bit, give it a play. If you're looking to be a jerk in a movie theatre from the comfort of your own home, the game will also cater to that need. It's weird that way, and apparently so are you.
Jazzpunk is a wonderful blend of spy-spoof, exploratory adventure game that actively involves you in the jokes it tells. Inventive, stylish, and downright hilarious in places, it's basically the lovechild of a three-way between The Meaning of Life, The Naked Gun, and Thirty Flights of Loving. An utterly absurd treat.
Jazzpunk is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. I love stupid, dry humor, others will not. Regardless, it is clear that the people who came up with all of this were very talented and did a fantastic job at exciting it. I couldn't list a single flaw about this game. It is nowhere near being an AAA game, but it isn't trying to be one. Jazzpunk is just a crazy game that makes no sense and makes you laugh for the duration. So long as you see the game for what it is, you are sure to love this game. There are easter eggs in every corner, be sure to explore!
Debates still go on as to whether video games have had their Citizen Kane moment, but with Jazzpunk we can at least rest easy knowing that games have had their Naked Gun moment.
By the time I finished Jazzpunk, I was both left wanting more of its crazy world and feeling slightly underwhelmed. Many of the jokes felt a bit too random for their own good, and the story kind of just ends with no real resolution. If you're not the type of person who likes to roam around miniature sandboxes and locate every single hidden secret, Jazzpunk may not be for you. But for everyone else, you'll revel in the ability to play a completely missable game of Fruit Ninja with Jim Sterling.
Necrophone Games has a fantastic premise, a decent execution and a brave narration in Jazzpunk. Had I not had the pressure of trying to get through this for the purpose of review, I would have had far more laugh-out-loud moments, rather than a quick acknowledgements and the occasional laugh. At $15, there is some quality time you can get with this indie Steam title. Watch the trailer – if you're even the least bit curious, I say go for it.
A fumbled finale puts a notable stain on the experience. They say one of the key rules in comedy is to leave the audience wanting more, but as Jazzpunk's credits rolled I was left feeling a little indifferent. But the game is something to be admired. Few titles dedicate themselves to comedy as wholly as Jazzpunk does. This is a game that delivers every silly, bizarre moment with a toothy grin and a badum-tish, waiting with barely contained excitement to deliver its next surprise. A few may be booed off stage, but when so many can hit the mark as closely as they do, I can't deny it a round of applause.
Jazzpunk isn't going to be everybody's cup of tea but it's guaranteed to make you laugh. If one joke doesn't work for you, the one that follows five seconds later probably will. Much of it will depend on your tolerance for silliness, yet it remains a short and sweet experience perfect for when you need to take a break and relax. The replay value is low, but it's a nice distraction while it lasts.
In fact I can't think of anyone who wouldn't like this game, but while I'm excited for the internet to get at it so I can find out what I missed, at two hours long many people might find it hard to justify a purchase. Just keep the meter running, I'll be right back.
Good for a quick laugh, but not much more than that. If you value an evening's entertainment over having a significant chunk of your spare time eaten up, Jazzpunk is for you.
Jazzpunk ends up being scatological and surreal, but it's not sublime. Like Meatloaf says, two out of three ain't bad. But when's the last time anyone listened to Meatloaf? Jazzpunk is funny in its own peculiar way, but that's about all it is.