Comic Jumper Review (XBLA)

Game Review: Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley
Release: October 6, 2010
Genre: Side-scrolling shooter
Developer: Twisted Pixel
Available Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade
Players: 1 Player
MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Website: Comic Jumper

Comic Jumper is the adventure of the comic hero Captain Smiley and his sidekick, Star. The game starts out as the last issue of Captain Smiley’s comic before it is canceled. Now that Captain Smiley’s comic has been canceled, Smiley has resorted to making guest appearances in other comics, in order to make the money to reboot his own series. Smiley jumps to four different comics throughout the game, each resembling an artistic comic book style; these include modern era, silver age, manga, and fantasy styles. Each comic has its own artistic feel and unique style. Throughout each comic Captain Smiley will discover many quirky characters like himself.

While Comic Jumper is somewhat of a traditional style shooter, being much like Metroid and Shadow Complex, it also offers many original and great things to the side-scrolling shooting format. The game goes from side-scrolling shooter to on-rail shooter, as well as having a shooting mode like Finalizer and Galaga, in this mode you aren’t constricted to the ground while you shoot. The game also offers many boss battles that help break up the repetitiveness. All of these game styles are difficult, and if you want to make it to the end of the game, you will need to gain money from each issue you play. That is where the scoring system comes in. While playing through the game you will earn money for each mission, at the end of each mission you are given a scoreboard telling you how you earned your money, this includes your accuracy, how many times you died, how fast you beat the level, and a percent of your earnings is added to your money depending on how much extra material you bought.

Twisted Pixel has great extras for the game. These extras not only add to the game but make the game even more worth the price, with such extras as, two ‘Splosion man levels (one multiplayer, one single player), a premium theme, and gamerpics, all of these are usable outside of the game. The extras consist of, 160 pieces of concept art, 125 comic covers, 12 videos, 24 audio clips, and 25 models. Not only do the extras give you some background to Smiley’s existence, but the bonus that you get from them makes it much easier to get all of the upgrades in the game. The upgrades in the game allow you to give greater damage and have a larger amount of health. After you have fully upgraded going back through the game gives you a different feel and can make it more enjoyable now that you aren’t dying at every corner. This gives the game more replay value.

The most unique thing about Comic Jumper is the different comic styles; each new comic world is a work of art that truly feels like a comic brought to life. Every new comic Captain Smiley enters changes his style to match the world around him. As Captain Smiley enters each new world he is surrounded by many whacky characters all of which provide great material for Smiley’s dialog. The jokes are some of the best of any game. The banter between Star and Captain Smiley is not only funny but in a strange way give great appeal to the characters. You may find yourself playing through the game wishing for a cut-scene or some in-game dialog. Almost every piece of dialog in the game should not be missed.

The game is nearly perfect but does suffer from several flaws. First being that the difficulty does offer a great challenge but it might be a little too hard for some and will probably keep a few people away from the game. The next thing is that even though the game has several things to mix up the gameplay, it still feels like it is not enough, especially with some of the boss battles sharing the same moves as previous battles. These problems definitely do not damage the game enough to make it not worth buying, unless you can’t stand difficult games.

Final Word:
This is a great game at an even greater price. This game can offer around 7 hours for one playthrough making it one of the longer lasting arcade games, most of this time may be spent constantly replaying parts after dying. With Twisted Pixel not only offering a great game but also offering many special things unlocked in the game, including avatar items, the worth of the game only increases. Comic Jumper is one of the best arcade games you can get for $15 dollars.

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