Is non­sense funny?

Set in a retro-fu­tur­is­tic world with cy­ber­punk un­der­tones, is a fas­ci­nat­ing blend of non­sense and cre­ative de­sign. We still can’t de­cide if we should rec­om­mend it or not.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By SHAUN A. NO­ORDIN bytz@thes­tar.com.my

WE hopE you have some as­pirin to spare, be­cause right now we have two things: a re­view of Jaz­zpunk — a first-per­son “ad­ven­ture” set in a retro­fu­tur­is­tic cold war era — and a mi­graine from hell. The two may be re­lated.

This isn’t to say that Jaz­zpunk is a ter­ri­ble game; in fact, we found it fas­ci­nat­ing. It com­bines an amaz­ing set­ting and an equally well-de­signed art style with a never-end­ing stream on mad­den­ing, nigh-non­sen­si­cal jokes.

Warn­ing: this re­view will con­tain spoil­ers of the first two lev­els, start­ing from... now, be­cause it’s im­pos­si­ble other­wise to give con­text as to why we’d give a sushi-eat­ing cow­boy ex­plo­sive di­ar­rhea so we could col­lect his cy­ber-kid­ney.

Ad­ven­ture into in­san­ity

here’s the set­ting: Jaz­zpunk takes place in a world where Cold War-era spy shenani­gans ex­ist side-by-side with Neu­ro­mancer- styled cy­ber­punk themes. There are ro­bot geisha wan­der­ing the city, the per­va­sive pres­ence of the Ja­panese lan­guage in­di­cates the cul­ture’s dom­i­nance in this world, and the ve­hi­cles that fill the psychedel­i­cally-coloured streets are rem­i­nis­cent of those from 1960’s Thun­der­birds.

This sounds like an amaz­ing world to ex­plore, and to an ex­tent it is. Un­for­tu­nately, the plot that drives the nar­ra­tive boils down to sim­ply this: you are a se­cret agent, and then jokes ran­domly hap­pen.

Take, for ex­am­ple, the sec­ond mis­sion of the game where you’re as­signed to trail a cow­boy to a sushi restau­rant and then some­how ex­tract his cy­ber-kid­ney. oK, this sounds like an in­ter­est­ing es­pi­onage wet­work oper­a­tion, and the steps leading to your goal play out like a good, al­beit short, puzzle ad­ven­ture. The puzzle re­lies on some very twisted logic to solve (throw ex­actly five spi­ders on the sushi chef then poi­son the sushi with blow­fish) but that’s quite for­giv­able.

our prob­lem is that on the way to the ob­jec­tive, while we were ex­plor­ing this fas­ci­nat­ing es­pi­onage-filled/cy­ber­punk­themed world, we en­coun­tered a num­ber of non se­quitur dis­trac­tions.

once, we en­tered a room and were sud­denly tasked with swat­ting flies in a room full of pre­cious vases while Looney Tunes mu­sic played in the back­ground. Ex­cept we weren’t sup­posed to swat the flies, we

were sup­posed to

Cold War: It wouldn’t be a retro es­pi­onage game if you didn’t have to in­fil­trate a Soviet em­bassy now, would it?

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