Comic Jumper – XBLA Review

Gaming

Game Name: Comic Jumper
Platforms: Xbox 360
Publisher(s): Xbox LIVE Arcade
Developer(s): Twisted Pixel Games
Genre(s): Action
Release Date: 10/6/2010
ESRB Rating: T (Teen) Cartoon Violence Crude Humor Language Suggestive Themes
Price: 1200MSP

Story
Threatened with becoming just another failed superhero, Captain Smiley is rescued by the fine folks at Twisted Pixel who provide him with a base of operations and Comic Jumping technology allowing him—and his back-talking “chestkick” named Star—to leap into other comic books and save misguided plotlines, so that they may earn enough cash to catapult their superhero careers back into the limelight. From the creators of the award-winning titles Splosion Man and The Maw, Comic Jumper is the team’s most ambitious game yet.” [ Via Xbox.com]

Captain Smiley is on the verge of being washed out of the Comic Super Hero business. Out of money, and out of villains; Comic Jumper must find a way to reboot his career. Twisted Pixel helps him out (yes they are in the game, literally) by supplying him a device that lets him jump between comics. It is now Captain Smiley’s job to enter other comics and help the heroes in those comics with whatever they need help with… for a reasonable fee, of course.

Gameplay
This is not a kid’s game. The art style may seem cartoony, but a huge chunk of the humor is intended for an older audience. There are many jokes within the game from old movies, such as “Total Recall”, “Bloodsport”, and many more that I can’t recall the films’ name; there are even jokes placed in there from other games both their own, and not their own. There are even a few jokes at the expense of their own games, such as The Maw. Simply put, there are a whole bunch of jokes. The humor is spot on and I laughed during the entire game. Sadly, since the entire game depends on the jokes, there isn’t much replay value located in the game. If you do replay it, you will just hear the same jokes over again; and if you are lucky you might catch a few that you missed the first time around.

The gamestyle is a sidescrolling arcade shooter. This gamestyle is also a throwback to the older generation. You know, the ones that actually grew up playing these types of games, and not the ones who are used to “More Modern” Shooters. The arcade shooters that were intended to be really hard, and almost impossible not to die in. Comic Jumper is primarily a sidescrolling shooter, where you jump, slide, and climb all while shooting at everything that pops out to kill you. Not getting hurt in this game is almost impossible, as there are tons of things trying to kill you. The bosses are also a lot of fun, with patterns to memorize and tons of health to slowly dwindle down.

Freebies are abundant in this game. Twisted Pixel loves to give away as much free stuff as they can, and they have broken boundaries on it before. There are free gamer pictures, a free theme, and even free DLC for their previous game: “Splosion’ Man”. If you thought that wasn’t enough, there is tons of in game concept art, videos, comics to read, and much much more. I say it is all free, but it actually costs in game money that you get by beating levels and challenges; but this is just a small price to pay for so much free stuff. It also adds a small amount of replay value, if you can’t manage to get all the money in one playthrough.

Audio & Graphics
There are actually four unique art styles in this game. Even though the overall gameplay style stays consistent throughout the whole game, the art style freshens up the game at regular intervals. Every time there is an art style change, it is like getting a fresh new game to play. It isn’t just the art that changes either, the jokes and the audio change as well.

The game’s music was composed by a few different guys, and this gives a unique sound to every different comic. There is even more comedic original music located in this game. More of the awesome funny that only “Chainsaw” can provide. Yes, the same guy that composed “Donuts Go Nuts” from “Splosion’ Man” is back with even more original epicness! Just wait, till you hear Brad’s Theme song, or the other various songs by “Chainsaw”. Also, on a side note, the lipsyncing in this game is horrible; no attempt to even do it at all. On the plus side, the game was so much fun, I didn’t even notice it until I was almost done with the game. It seriously, isn’t that big of a deal.

Achievements
The achievement list in Comic Jumper is actually extremely easy. A large chunk of them can be achieved in one playthrough of the game. You could actually get all of them in one playthrough if you are really good (or bad, in the case of the bullets fired). There are a few tricky ones, however. For instance, “Shut Star Up” only has two locations in the game where you can get it, but you can always go back to those levels and replay them. “Collection of a True Fan” and “I Took Performance Enhancers” both require you to spend your in game money on unlockables and upgrades. If a normal player goes immediately for the upgrades, you can’t get it in one playthrough; on the other hand, if you buy the unlockables, you get a bonus multiplier which keeps adding up based on the unlockables you buy. If you keep buying unlockables, you’ll eventually get a huge amount of bonus cash after each level for simply owning those unlockables. Finally, “Pressed X a lot” is actually missable; and you do not want to miss this achievement. If you don’t go through the base after each mission, you will run out of chances to do it and have to start the entire game over; and you do not want to do that. So make sure to talk to everyone and everything within the base after each mission, until you get the achievement. It does add more funny lines to the game, which is a bonus; and there are also some easter eggs that you might miss unless you talk to them.

Below is the achievement list:

  • Neural Net Processors10 Destroy 25 of Brad’s BradBots.
  • Two Stood Against Many15 Complete three sections of the first comic genre.
  • Hero of the Silver Age15 Complete three sections of the second genre.
  • Brad’s Savior and Best Friend15 Complete three sections of the third genre.
  • Job Well Done, Faithful Reader25 Complete the game.
  • Pressed X a lot10 Earn some cash by talking to people in the base.
  • Collection of a True Fan25 Spend your hard-earned money and buy all the unlockables from Dr. Winklemeyer.
  • I Took Performance Enhancers25 Max out all of Captain Smiley’s abilities.
  • Violence Solves Everything10 Fire 125,000 total shots.
  • Eugene’s Protégé20 Play every reaction sequence mistake-free.
  • He Ain’t Even Married20 Survive a specific section without getting hit.
  • Shut Star Up10 Let your feelings guide you.

There are also three avatar awards available in the game

  • Star Shirt (Male Shirt) – A shirt with star on it, for males only.
  • Gerda Shirt (Female Shirt) – A shirt with Gerda’s Face on it, for females only.
  • Captain Smiley Giant Head – Wear it on your head, and you can be Captain Smiley too.

Overview
Comic Jumper has a huge emphasis on the in game humor. The player really determines how much they get out of the game. If a player doesn’t catch any of the references, and just runs through the game; the game is in turn going to seem like a stupid piece of junk. On the other hand, if the player takes their time and catches a huge amount of references; the game will be an awesome piece of pure gold comedy! It is as simple as that. In my opinion, the game isn’t really meant to be played, but instead it should simply be enjoyed. Sadly, this also means there is almost no replay value in the game, since you will only hear the same lines over again and see the same things again. I can say that there were a few things I missed the first time through, that I caught the second time but I don’t think I need a third replay at all. If you like Twisted Pixel and like their sense of humor, then you will probably enjoy this game. Sadly, if you don’t have speakers on your TV and aren’t old enough, you won’t like this game that much. Twisted Pixel has even  hinted within the game at possible future DLC that they would like to have. This isn’t a guarantee, but DLC supported games are always nice.
I give Comic Jumper
9-0-capsules-out-of-10

  • Sogeman

    I got the Maw on the first day, Splosion Man too and the same will happen with Comic Jumper. The first thing after I wake up will be to look on the Marketplace to see if it’s available. Twisted Pixel just can’t make a bad game and with all the extras they cram into their games everyone who doesn’t buy it should just stop gaming. Some 2D Multiplayer deathmatch probably would have been fun (ala Soldier) but better a fleshed out SP and no MP than a mess of both.

  • Andrew

    This sounds like a really fun game! It’s good to hear about its shortcomings, though they seem to be greatly outweighed by its strengths. Thanks for the review!

  • Izodius

    Thanks for a fairly comprehensive review. I’ve read a lot of reviews in the past few days and I actually learned more about the game and the freebies with it than any other review (had no clue about the Splosion Man DLC). It was also nice to hear a bit about the music; I was hoping there’d be some return of the Doughnuts guys! Most importantly it’s nice to see an honest take on the game – and pointing out it’s flaws (replayability) along with the great things about it. Too many reviews just gave it great numbers and didn’t say much about the flaws. Did you find the difficulty to be annoying? I found Splosion Man ramped up the difficulty fairly quickly; quickly enough to turn my girlfriend off of the game somewhere around 2-10.

  • HC

    Great review. For some reason this game reminds me of Alien Hominid. Probably because Comic Jumper oozes with style, and the fact that the game is also challenging.

  • Been totally looking forward to this game & cannot wait to get it. Was a huge fan of ‘Splosion Man & it sounds like this game will be as fun, if not more fun. & all the extras (avatar awards, bonus ‘Splosion Man level, etc.) are just icing on the awesome cake that is this game.

  • carter

    because Carter (my name is Carter )is a jumper
    so he at list need to win this
    lol
    comic Jumper!@#$

  • Rob

    Great review!…I love T.P!!,Not just toilet paper but twisted pixel!!..They make amazing games that everyone needs to play!!..If you don’t like their games there is something wrong with you and probably are a terrorist!..In all seriousness,I’m dying to play this game like Maury is to tell guys they aren’t the kids father.

  • downsouthtigger

    This is one of the reasons I love twisted Pixel. All their games maintain a superior level of quality and humor. Plus they are a great value with the extra content that they deliver. I’ve been watching this game since it was announced and was very glad to hear about the gameplay. Looking at the screen I knew this was a side scroller but I thought it was more of a beat em up like shank.
    Having a great story and the ability to jump from different eras of comics makes this a no brainer for those of us that love Twisted Pixels games and comics.
    I’m also glad the reviewer mentioned the Avatar awards as this has become the new thing. A game cannot just slide by on having achievements anymore. I wouldve prefered not to know about the achievements until I got the game though.

  • Bluelasers

    Is it wrong that i’m taking a day off school/work to play this game tomorrow? Will i miss a valuable lesson…maybe, will my boss yell at me …definitely, do i care…nope, because i’ll be playing FREAKING COMIC JUMPER! Last year when splosion man came out i was hooked couldn’t get that song out of my head but i loved replaying a level to get that perfect run and improve my score last time i checked my leaderboard score i was still in the top 100. So i have no doubt this game will provide hours upon hours of that Twisted Pixel magic.

  • Thumbs up for the Free extra content.

  • thegingerfatone

    I’ve never really enjoyed playing platformers, but Splosion Man is my favourite downloadable game of all-time, and its good to see that Comic Jumper will live up to the standard of their other games. It’s good to see things in this game too that made their other games so fun, like the humour, the extra unlockables and the way they put so much thought into the achievements. After the recent disappointments of Sonic Adventure and Hydrophobia, its good to see a game that almost exceeds its expectations.

  • I’m loving this game too.

    Pancake Thursday can’t come soon enough.

    xD

  • Ramoramopo

    This Comic Jumper game is what XBLA needs. A perfect side scroller from the looks of it. A funny and interesting story about a dying comic book superhero. I hope to enjoy this game soon. I miss these old side scroller games.

  • Atom918

    This game looks awesome. I loved The Maw and Splosion Man. THose were two awesome games as well. I cannot wait to get this.

  • Julia

    I’ve been excited for this game ever since I saw a little blurb about it. I’ve been reading all these reviews about it and now I’m about to die of anticipation. The game looks gorgeous and sounds like tons of fun.
    Manga-style captain smiley looks kinda like Cloud from FF7… if I was on a horrible acid trip or something. Thanks for the awesome review! (also i just want you to know that this is the best comment so feel free to give me a copy of the game ’cause I’m broke from medical bills… yeah I just played the sympathy card. :: makes puppy dog eyes :: )

  • Looks like a blast!!

  • BIPPLE!!!!

    Yo awesome review, Unlockable avatar items NICE! Cant wait to play the game. Definitely buying it even if u don’t pick me to win. Now if you’ll excuse me I have some more of your reviews to read 😉

  • Everybody Loves Donuts. I know I do oo oo.

  • Neil

    By adding themselves into the game “Twisted Pixel” has made a step beyond the 4th wall, then sends its title character through the pages of so many different styles of comics, that it seems like they have achieved doing the very thing any great XBLA developer should be doing. Keeping things creative!

    The throwback to the older generation of side scrolling arcade shooters is something I’m looking forward to a lot. Many years and millions of quarters I threw away at games like Robocop, TMNT: Arcade, Double Dragon & Bad Dudes.

    So far I’ve loved Twisted Pixels work. This looks even better then The Maw & Splosion Man. I can’t wait to see what DLC for Splosion Man is unlocked. Also I just learned reading your review that the writer of “Donuts go Nuts” has new songs in this.

    I can’t keep that song out of my head 🙂

    @agentcoop007

  • Skrams

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about looks and jokes but I’ve heard the gameplay falls a little flat. I liked Maw and Splosion Man for their simpleness yet how great they showed. I think I’ll be looking past some of the lesser parts of this game and take in the goodness. I really can’t wait to play it since it just sounds so good though. Also free Splosion Man DLC and giant avatar award head=WIN. Also I love the FMV and Twisted Pixel Super Attack!

  • Eileen

    TRUST me! I am “old enough” to appreciate the references to old movies! Do they go back to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang…that was my very first movie. LOL! If the game is about comedy and not any real skill…then I am a prime recipient! Maybe I can figure out how to create my own version of comic jumper and get myself out of laundry and KP duty I have been saddled with for the past 29 years and 6 kids under my belt. Uggh…
    I can always gift to my nephews if I dont have enough TOTAL RECALL to figure it out!

    thanks!

  • Darklurkr23

    This game sounds like Comix Zone meets God of War drawn like Katamari Damacy. I was turned off at the first sight of a hero named “Captain Smiley”, but after reading article and seeing this thing has TOTAL RECALL references in it, it’s like I’m Cuato and Michael Ironside just shot me in the head but the bullet was made of PCP instead of Lead. I. Must. Play. This.

  • Jack

    Great review, XBLA is really bringing the goods these days. With Comic Jumper now there’s a lot to buy on my shopping list just for arcades alone. 🙁

  • Congratulations BlueLasers for winning the Comic Jumper code.

    We don’t blame you for skipping school/work; though we do not condone it in any fashion. (Even though I totally did the same thing when I got the game =P… )

    Good luck beating the hiscores, it is going to be hard. The code will be sent to your email shortly, from “Info@capsulecomputers.com.au”; be sure to check your junk mail box.

    Remember everyone, http://www.CapsuleComputers.com holds regular contests and we even give games away to random comments on any post; so keep commenting regularly on a lot of posts and you could be a lucky winner.

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