“Comic Jumper” is side scrolling shoot em up game on the X box live arcade; it was produced by Twisted Pixel (creator of such offbeat games as “‘Splosion Man” and “The Maw”), and is available for 1200 x box live points. Earlier most addictive game players used to be hooked to Pkv games but the trend is changing now.
“Comic Jumper” is the story of Captain Smiley, a self absorbed, arrogant, and high maintenance “super hero”, whose own comic book gets cancelled due to poor sales, forcing him to take odd jobs “guess starring” in other peoples comics so he can make enough money to relaunch his own comic. He is joined on this journey by star, a talking emblem on his chest who possesses a deep and abiding hatred for Smiley, never skipping an opportunity to put him down.
“Comic Jumper” consists of 11 levels; the first and final levels are a book end framing device consisting of Smiley’s own universe, with the other levels split into three act worlds; The first being a fantasy sword and sorcery world based off of Conan the Barbarian, the second world is a silver age Sci Fi setting, while the third world is a surreal monochrome world inspired by Japanese Manga. Through these worlds, Smiley must run, jump, and shoot his way through hordes of enemies, while earning money to buy upgrades and powerups back in the hub world.
Twisted Pixel, a relatively new indie game company, is known for their weird and offbeat sense of humor, and it really shines through with “Comic Jumper”; The voice acting is over the top and hilarious, occasionally intersected with live action cut scenes and bizarre nonsequitrs. For instance, in the third level of the silver age, after defeating a miniboss, you have to fight your way out of an ad for a Kung Fu manual. Later, in the manga level, you have to finish the level by singing a song to send a slain unicorn to heaven (much to Smiley’s chagrin). “Comic Jumper” also possesses a bevy of colorful and amusing characters, from the deranged Dr. Winklemeyer (who runs the item shop) to the self absorbed muscle man Brad (Smiley’s arch enemy and final boss of the game.)
The gameplay for “Comic Jumper” is solid; you use the left analog stick to move, the left trigger or the X button to shoot, The right trigger or A to jump, and the right analog stick to aim where you are shooting. The aiming system allows you to aim at opponents as you maneuver, an essential skill considering the massive amount of enemies that populate this game and their varied positions. The Y button uses a special all screen attack which calls upon the Twisted Pixel programmers to smite your enemies, clearing the screen and recharging your health. Sections of standard sidescrolling are intercut with other sections, including shooting gallery sections, melee sections, and even the odd quicktime event.
The in game dialog is also handled well; whereas in other games the main character will repeat funny statements ad nasuem and at random times, the random quips in comic jumper happen as you progress past certain points, making them much more unique and interesting.
The one thing which may players away is the difficulty; there are no health pick ups in “Comic Jumper”, with the aforementioned special attack being the only way to recharge health. In addition, the enemies, especially in later levels, take massive amounts of punishment, and can inflict just as much damage. The difficulty is somewhat offset by the fact you have infinite lives, and you respawn at check points upon death, but it can be frustrating to get sent back to a previous point when you’ve nearly reached the next checkpoint.
Aside from the minor problem of difficulty, “Comic Jumper” is a thoroughly enjoyable game which delivers great action and never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously. It’s definitely worth a look at, as are Twisted Pixel’s other games.