Howdy-doody, Lusiplayers! It is a known fact that we here at the LusipurrCom Offices love Jello Puddin’ Pops, lolicon, and indie games. But perhaps some of our incredibly bored readers ponder what our staff writers enjoy besides those things. Allow this writer to satisfy our readers boredom: besides tabletop role-playing games and aviator sunglasses, this writer also enjoys occasionally reading graphic novels and comic books. So it is fitting that this review should come to pass, since Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley is a video game centered around comic book shenanigans.
Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley is a platformer developed and published by Twisted Pixel games. It follows the story of Captain Smiley, hot-shot comic book protagonist extraordinaire. After his comic gets cancelled, Captain Smiley and his chest cavity-bound sidekick Star are hired by Twisted Pixel and assigned to guest-star in other comics by “jumping” into them, until he makes enough money to relaunch his own series. As is often the case with indie titles, the biggest draw to Comic Jumper will no doubt be the writing and story presentation. Comic Jumper is indeed hilarious. Captain Smiley and Star–both voiced by veteran voice actor Chistopher Sabat–play off of each other well, with Star’s wisecracks and snarking accounting for a good portion of the game’s humor. The game also boasts a number of other quirky characters to fill out its roster, including Captain Smiley’s arch-nemesis (and Star’s mancrush) Brad, morbidly-obese barbarian Nanok the Obliviator, the puppeteering Madame Ropes, and many more.
Gameplay-wise, Comic Jumper is solid. Most of the game is played out as a 2.5D run-and-gun platformer reminiscent of games such as Gunstar Heroes and Metal Slug, with the player having to battle wave after wave of enemies as he or she progresses. These levels are punctuated by action sequences that include melee sequences quick-time events, and bullet hell sequences. The levels are fairly difficult, despite having infinite lives that drop the player at a nearby checkpoint. The game has a nice balance of difficulty and fun as time goes on, making liberal deaths in Comic Jumper annoying, but rarely unfair. The game is not particularly long, and the amount of time spent playing it is padded out by the game’s difficulty.
The art and design of Comic jumper is well-executed features an interesting twist: as the player progresses through different comics in the game, the art style changes to match the genre of the comic, resulting in a range of wildly different-looking levels. While many fans of comics and manga will appreciate the gags and jokes present in each level, gamers of all kinds will love the look of levels, which are detailed and filled with humor themselves. The music of the game also shifts from level to level, from the straightforward action music of the modern comic level, to the orchestral and sweeping music of the fantasy comic, to the cheesy and wacky silver age soundtrack.
Is Comic Jumper a game worth buying? From one Xbox 360 owner to another: go for it! Comic Jumper is an imaginative, hilarious tribute to and roast of comic books, and it is one of the better games available from the Xbox Live Arcade. It is well worth the 10 USD one would pay for it.