Released today by Necrophone Games and Adult Swim Games comes Jazzpunk, a comedy espionage game that has adventure, laughs and WTF moments in excess. Take on the role of secret agent Polyblank as you infiltrate the Russian Embassy, retrieve a precious kidney, and take a misadventure of a vacation in a world obsessed with spying, tech and puns.
Whilst the espionage theme may conjure images of taking out targets with poison and snipers, Jazzpunk is a virtually violence free game, unless you count making someone very sick with Fugu juice as violent. Instead the game takes on a more explorative and traditional ideology of espionage, allowing you to do some open-world exploring in order to distract guards and enter secret areas, even doing the old gender switcheroo with a blonde wig and some red lipstick to gain information from targets.
Alongside these main missions, Jazzpunk provides a whole host of mini-game style activities, taking influence from classic games such as Space Invaders and Tekken with hilarious results. The driving force of Jazzpunk is its relentless spoofing and puns, giving crazy twists to all aspects of the games. You can beat up a car Tekken-style, or fight pizza zombies, and it’s this option to explore that makes Jazzpunk so fun. Although Jazzpunk does expect this of you as a player: the game itself is not particularly long, and more of an experience than a game in terms of difficulty, so without the 15 minutes spent opening all the doors and pushing all the buttons it would be a much less satisfying.
Even in the relatively short time it takes to complete Jazzpunk there are a number of great aspects that shine through, one of which is the design. The characters and NPCs in Jazzpunk take on the form of MSN icon lookalikes which is sometimes funny, and sometimes feels a bit samey after walking past 20 solid black characters with nothing but a tie to distinguish them, although in hindsight they fit perfectly into the espionage style, whilst also taking influence from vintage cartoons. Some of the landscape in Jazzpunk is by contrast beautiful and detailed, such as the Japanese temple surrounded by koi filled ponds and cherry blossoms. It is this all-round excellence that makes talking to sentient boxes and shooting carnival ducks with toast absolutely entertaining.
If your humour leans toward the darker side of comedy and you’re all for quirky click games, Jazzpunk is a must buy. A wonderful, funny and genuinely enjoyable experience which will leave you laughing about the jokes for weeks after.
Words by Louise Egan