Oh Jazzpunk. I Never heard of you until the lasts moments of 2014, and as I play you now, I don’t know what to think of you. But as I go on, I’m more and more intrigued.
*Spoilers ahead. Jazzpunk and Frog Fractions spoilers ahead. You have been warned.*
Jazzpunk is (probably) an “adventure” game. You walk around a world, pick up items, put items places and then win(?). Supposedly takes place during an alternate dimension Cold War era blah blah-
This game is fucking great.
Just enough “what the hell is even this game” to keep you interested, Jazzpunk crafts an interesting, well-stylized world. Jazzpunk knows what it is, even if I do not. My short time on the planet of semi-coherent reality that was Jazzpunk was filled with some really remarkable moments of sheer joy and wonder. From the moment you start ahead on your strange mission it’s a constant barrage of great moment after great moment.
Jazzpunk harkens back to another game by the name of Frog Fractions, the “absolute best way to teach your child about fractions.”
Here’s a link: http://twinbeard.com/frog-fractions
You should play Frog Fractions, preferably before you continue reading. I’ll wait.
We good? Sweet.
Now that you are an aficianado of Frog Fractions, you probably expected math amphibians, and may have been sorely dissappointed. If you were like me, however, you were taken on a magical journey of nonsense. Riding your dragon through an asteroid belt to Bug Mars, getting sentenced to Bug Servitude, fleeing the nation, becoming the president, managing Bug Pornography, and then ultimately mastering fractions. What a ride.
Besides the distinct lack of math present in Jazzpunk, the two games are incredibly similar. Your actions may be vastly different but the heart and spirit of those actions are drawing on the same rollercoaster of emotions. Boiled down to its core, it can be summed up as: What am I doing? Help! Help! I need an adult for I cannot stop having fun!
Getting back to Jazzpunk, it might as well be the heavily guarded fortress of kickstarter fame that is Frog Fractions 2. FF2 is a funded kickstarter project, where the creator, Jim Crawford, has stated: “It will not be called Frog Fractions 2. It will probbaly be called something like ‘Turbo Finance 2015″… Wait, are you playing Frog Fractions 2 right now?”
Leading me to my main point: Jazzpunk for the seat in the house of silly video games, otherwise known as Frog Fractions 2.
The starting area of Jazzpunk is fantastic at setting you up for the experience you’re about to have. You are plopped in front of this giant building, looking for a thing. (The thing is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about the thing.) You walk right in the front door like an asshole. You don’t have an appointment. You absorb a document inside of your stomach (I’m assuming, it’s first person who knows where that thing actually went.) And then some Russian sounding security guard follows you around and tells you to get out now. It’s actually a little creepy.
You spend most of your time playing Jazzpunk being led down a trail of breadcrumbs to get you to interact with the right things/people at the right time. Not the most engaging, but one does not play Jazzpunk for the intense, tight controls. One plays Jazzpunk to put lipstick on and kiss strangers.
The part where I truly believe Jazzpunk trascends itself and becomes Frog Fractions 2 is, well, the very beginning. You walk down a unsuspecting office hall, get told your mission, your Director hands you some pills, and off you go. Take some, end up somewhere completely different. And it’s all downhill from there. Finish your mission, jump into the trash chute, and then start feeding the koi.
This is when I knew I was playing Frog Fractions 2. There are so many little moments in Jazzpunk that just reminded me of Bug Mars, Holding Down, and Riding the Dragon into Space. (You know what I’m talking about. Or don’t. Go play Frog Fractions.)
Maybe Jazzpunk isn’t Frog Fractions 2. And maybe it is. You certainly don’t do any fractions. But you do play Sport, require sports gravy for sports gravy boat racing. You do drink some fresh squeezed battery juice. Jazzpunk is amazing.
All in all, for that hour and a half or so with Jazzpunk, I had a blast. I punched cars, slapped geishas sensually with a fly swatter, and crawled out of my Crocodirector’s butthole. The four essential components to any game worthy of being called Frog Fractions 2.