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.
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?