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JazzPunk Review: All the Easter Eggs

JazzPunk takes the feeling you get when you find a hidden secret in a game or movie and concentrates that feeling to the highest possible degree. Building around the comedic nature of puns and references,  Jazzpunk looks to crack you up and take you by surprise with every nook and cranny you can possibly uncover. The relentless humor is polarizing, it may not appeal to some with different tastes but if it fits your bill, you’ll be laughing from the very moment you start.

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You pick up the game as Polyblank, a mere ordinary human in a robot world working as a spy for a conspicuous if a bit unprofessional organization. You are provided missions from your “Director” who tasks you with many “secret ops” missions that take you to a ton of different locations. Naturally, to get there you must take your “mission pill” that magically brings you to the beginning of each level in just five quick seconds. In each of these open world levels, you are usually given a few basic puzzles to solve and  an item to recover from said location. While these do push the plot forward, you can’t help but feel that these missions are simply used as a doorway to get you to the main focus of the game, and that is to search around the environments for all the secrets Necrophone has hidden away. There are also a variety of side missions you can do that keep up with the tone of the game, such as degaussing pigeons or shaving a man’s back… with a weed whacker. It’s all very easily accomplished and usually pretty funny to watch or do.

Ranging from iPad games to arcade classics and movies, no license is safe from the game’s humor; Wedding Quake and supplying a simple “turtle” with everything it needs to become a “ninja” is only the tip of the massive iceberg of obscurity that JazzPunk has to offer. Even the game’s built-in console is full of references or jokes that can be used to “modify” how you play. The jokes pretty much stay close to this formula, relying on references and in-jokes as it’s humor, but it succeeds astoundingly by bringing out the most of both popular and more subtle references that only a small majority would catch.

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Gameplay is simple and direct as the game doesn’t want you to lose or fail and is well aware that the bulk of the fun is around the environments and not necessarily the objective at hand. While going straight to the objective is obviously an option, you’ll have much more fun strolling around the many environments, trying to find every pixel you can click on just to see what it does. Within these environments though is a variety of mini games that you can seemly (and unknowingly) stumble upon. These are everywhere and all of them include their own charm and reference that makes you actively search for crazier and crazier things.

JazzPunk opens with one hell of a bang, throwing references and jokes left and right, keeping that pace until the final few chapters. It never falls flat but JazzPunk suffers near the end; jokes and interactable items are harder to come by and the ones that are present never reach the heights of those that came before. Luckily, the last few moments come back with a knockout punch and ends on a fun, satisfying note to cap off its three hour run time. That being said, the wow factor you get your first time through isn’t there going through a second time, somewhat dampening the replayability. Of course, there is the likely chance you missed a few jokes on your first playthrough and seeing these again is hardly punishment to find some new things that you didn’t even think to look for the first time around.

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JazzPunk is an absolute riot if you’re the type of person who can connect with its unique sense of humor. Taking the shotgun approach, Necrophone riddles the game with countless references that capture all types of media from all different time periods. The gameplay is inherently simplistic but the emphasis on exploration and Easter egg hunting is the real reason to play the game.  Despite the faltering final act, JazzPunk is an otherwise obscure little game filled with side splitting humor and undeniable charm.

Rating
8.0
Pros
  • Incredible sense of humor
  • Last few moments are wonderfully insane
Cons
  • Humor may not cater to everyone
  • Final chapter a bit of a letdown

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