These recent years it seems video games are getting too serious. There became so many colourless shooters and Minecraft clones that I wondered if there was any hope in finding some originality in the world. Enter Jazzpunk, the self aware spy comedy adventure that makes me happy to be a gamer.
Jazzpunk is less of a game and more of an interactive comedic experience. The game plays out like an interactive movie, where the player is the world’s greatest secret agent for possibly the worst agency ever. The player receives missions from “The Director” in a train carriage before being sent out to collect whatever The Director wants. Following the game’s instructions and quickly running through the missions seems like the most sensible thing to do, but that way of thinking completely goes against what Jazzpunk is trying to do. If you want to make the most out of Jazzpunk, you have to be willing to try new things.
The real joy from Jazzpunk comes from wandering off the beaten path. The missions start with the player being right in front of their objective (a joke within itself) and looks like it wants you to quickly complete the mission, but it really wants you to do everything but complete it. Exploring the open environments is where the real game lies, with massive amounts of the comedy coming from what you will see and do with these seemingly random characters. You’ll be given side quests that lead up to nothing but a terrible pun, or find objects that don’t seem funny until you say what they are out loud. (My personal favorite being the “French Pie” who was a pie in spy clothing wearing a beret and smoking a cigarette, it had me laughing for ages.)
The game also plays with the typical conventions and norms of video games, breaking the forth wall constantly and making you realize that not everything in video games needs to make complete sense. The game also embraces the whacky culture of video games, having a wide amount of references to other games done in ways you really wouldn’t expect (a favorite being “Wedding Quake” where you shoot wedding cakes at each other). While a wide knowledge of games and cheesy spy movies aren’t required to enjoy Jazzpunk, having them will make the game even more enjoyable and hysterical.
The only real downer with Jazzpunk is the end. Not that it ends too soon, I think that two hours is perfect for a game like this, it’s like playing through a movie. But it’s the ending itself. It just happens and cuts off, leaving you there laughing at the wonderfully made credits, but sad because you didn’t get a proper ending. But if the worst thing about a game is that the ending is a bit naff, that goes to show how incredibly wonderful Jazzpunk is.
I love Jazzpunk. I really, really love Jazzpunk. It’s a one of a kind game that reminds us how brilliant games can be. Games don’t have to be hard, they don’t have to be complex, they don’t need to have explosions going off every ten second, with stats flying across your face and micro-transactions being offered for new eye colouring. Jazzpunk is a game that sets out to be an entertaining comedy spy adventure and does it near perfection.