XBLA Review: Comic Jumper

Can Twisted Pixel top ‘Splosion Man?

Comic Jumper is a side-scrolling platformer with a difference. You play as Captain Smiley, a comic book hero who’s comic has been cancelled and he must do guest appearances in other comics to earn enough cash to relaunch his comic. Sounds simple? Well, the comics are very obscure and getting through them is very difficult. Luckily, the game’s humour sets it apart and is perhaps the funniest game I’ve played in years.

Captain Smiley has a sidekick attached to his chest called Star who is sarcastic, foul-mouthed and just the greatest character in the game. Star has some great one liners and the interaction with him and Smiley is just priceless. There are also a number of other characters who are truly memorable for being clichéd, like Brad who totally loves himself so much he made women robots and called them BradBots. The script of Comic Jumper is truly hilarious and I love that Twisted Pixel have involved themselves in the story.

The game is split into two different types of combat, fighting and shooting but they are separated from each other so you’ll do a section of fighting with your fists and then do a section of shooting. Shooting takes up the majority of the game though and I personally preferred the fighting sections. Having said that, the shooting areas are very tough and brutal at times…you will die a lot in Comic Jumper as your health does not regenerate and enemies are relentless. It’s a tough game, but you can buy upgrades that will increase your health, damage and even a Help Me move that lets the Twisted Pixel team punch and head butt the screen.

You can earn bonus money by doing specific sections without getting hit, but you can earn enough money just by going through the game. The first comic that Captain Smiley enters is like something out of Conan, you are attacked by tribes, birds and eventually confronted by an old nemesis. The second comic is set during the Silver Age where women didn’t have that many rights and your every action is fined and sometimes censored by the comic committee. The third issue is a manga comic, which I’ve never read but thought was very insane…even in the context of Comic Jumper.

Each comic is built up of 3 individual issues that you need to clear to access the next one. Once you do all these then you can relaunch the comic but it’s more improved than the first time you play the game. I love the boss battles in the game, especially Benny who is ripped straight from Total Recall. He even has the one-liners from the film like “I’ve got 5 kids to feed!” and there’s even an achievement for beating him without taking damage called “He Ain’t Even Married”, but at the time of writing it seems some people are having trouble unlocking it…me included.

The Verdict

Comic Jumper will only take you a few hours to do, but it’s memorable for its great script and difficult, yet enjoyable gameplay. The art style changes for each comic that Captain Smiley appears in and never feels out of place. It’s perhaps the craziest game I’ve played for years, but that’s what makes it memorable. Star cracks me up with his one-liners and I hope that Twisted Pixel make a sequel of sorts, I want to see more of Star!