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Posted by drew10 on Nov 4, 2010
Review: Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley- Twisted Pixel – XBLA

Review: Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley- Twisted Pixel – XBLA

Smile Everyone!

Every now and then a hero emerges. A hero so strong, so awesome and so good-looking that he makes all heroes before him look crap. Captain Smiley isn’t one of those heroes. What he is however is one of the coolest characters seen in a game for a long time.

With a head like an acid tab Captain Smiley really lives up to his name especially as for some inexplicable reason he has a sidekick attached to his chest in the form of ‘Star’. Star is a wise-cracking er, star that sits on the front of Captain Smiley’s suit, although he is not exactly happy to be there. In fact Star would prefer to be the sidekick of one of Captain Smiley’s nemeses ‘Brad’.

The game starts with Captain Smiley trying to stop the evil Professor Winklemeyer from blowing up a bank. After he fails to foil that plot Captain gets involved in a fight with Brad, his Brad-Bot killer robot girlfriends and his ultra-cool Bradcopter. The farcical nature of this first level actually gets The Adventures Of Captain Smiley (The comic in which our hero lives.) cancelled as its readership gives up on it. Lovingly shown with some nice live-action video sequences.

Luckily for Captain Smiley, the mad professors at Twisted Pixel manage to create a way in which he can jump into other comics as a guest star whilst he tries to earn his fans back and get his own comic republished.

Got it? Good, keep up.

What this bizarre storyline does allow for is four very distinctive and equally brilliant art-styles and laughs aplenty. Yes Comic Jumper is one of those rarities in gaming, a genuinely funny game. And funny because it is meant to be not by some horrendous voice-acting accident. Not only is the script riddled with brilliant one-liners and insane characters and situations but it is all served up by a superb voice-cast that deliver the lines with perfect comedic timing.

The game itself starts off as a side-scrolling platformer that varies its style. When the camera zooms into the screen Captain Smiley can fight his way through the waves of bad guys with punch and kick moves. Yet when the camera zooms out he draws his guns and the game switches to a run and shoot platformer. But wait! Comic Jumper has even more tricks up its spandex sleeves. There are 3D shoot-em-up sections in the game that are a little reminiscent of Space Harrier where you can be running, sliding or even driving whilst shooting various things like birds, enemies in golf carts or stone columns. Yep.

The graphical quality of the levels cannot be denied and the four very distinct art-styles give the game a unique quality. The game switches from the ultra-modern computer drawn style of The Adventures Of Captain Smiley, to the Thor-like Nanoc the Obliviator, the 1950’s style of Improbable Paper Pals (Yes you read that correctly.) To the  bizarre Japanese Manga style of Cutie Cutie Kid Cupids.

Captain Smiley accesses all of these different comics from his base which has been lovingly created for him by the guys at Twisted Pixel, as they keep reminding us. Seems those guys will do anything to get themselves in the game! Here he finds, to his annoyance, all of his arch foes. They are just hanging out because due to the Captain’s incompetence they are now all unemployed until he can get his comic back!

Also in the base are arcade games featuring playable versions of Twisted Pixel’s other games The Maw and the brilliant ‘Splosion Man.

The comedy elements of this game are what truly stand it out from the crowd with little funny moments littered everywhere in the game. From the song that backs the stats screen to the video-screen with the guys from Twisted Pixel (Yes those guys again.) in the background this game is nuts from start to end. Even the live-action cut-scenes are brilliantly done, especially the end of the first level where you are still able to move Captain Smiley as the camera zooms out to reveal a boy reading the comic, who then quickly throws it away!

So you can probably tell that Comic Jumper has been a big hit at G4A and trying to find fault anywhere has been tough but like moving from mild-mannered games reviewers to the Super Villains we are, we have found loads, well one actually. Although the game style does change frequently it somehow still manages to feel a little repetitive. Each section can feel like it drags on a touch too long and could have done with switching from the fighting to the shooting a bit more frequently. But hey that is the only fault we could find!

Yes the guys at Twisted Pixel are total nutters, yes Captain Smiley and his cast of supporting characters are completely mental and yes Comic Jumper could just be a work of insane genius.

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