Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley Review
Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley box art
System: X360 (XBLA) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Twisted Pixel 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Microsoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 6, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

With such a strong emphasis on humor, you would hope that the game’s mechanics would balance out. Thankfully, it does, at least with the right point of view. Essentially most of the time you’ll play the game like a dual-stick analog shooter in the vein of Contra or Gunstar Heroes, with the occasional brawling, platforming, or on-rails section (think Sin & Punishment) thrown in for good measure. It’s actually better to go into the game with an arcade mindset, since the mechanics don’t really change or evolve over time. The slick visuals and general feel may lull you into thinking the game is going to evolve, with new abilities to unlock and additional gameplay elements that will crop up, but Comic Jumper is really much more of an old-school arcade game with modern trappings. If you’re cool with that, you’ll probably enjoy it, though you should be prepared to take some punishment from the game’s steep difficulty.

Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot

It is a little bit disappointing that the game changes so little from level to level, or even world to world, however. Essentially, once you’ve played a couple of levels of Comic Jumper, you’ve probably played them all, with minor variations. Only the level and character skins change (which are admittedly pretty neat). There are still some definite surprises to the game, though. Smiley and Star take a trip back to the Silver age of comics (read: the 1960s), which gives our heroes, as well as the world around them, a Jack Kirby-style makeover; the villainess of the Silver age comic is a hardcore, second-wave feminist, which lends itself to countless jokes about either gender stereotypes or misogyny. Twisted Pixel also makes fun of the cultural attitudes of the time, blatantly subverting them with, say, a comics censorship board that fines Star or Smiley every time they do something indecent during the game. I was pretty surprised at some of the jokes seen here, although the manga section may be even more ridiculous. I don’t want to spoil anything, and I hope for your sake you don’t end up reading about Smiley’s makeover, let alone some of the other things that happen in the manga section, before playing the game; let’s just say that JRPG fans and Otakus will likely get a kick out of what happens. Even the Conan-style rip off, Nanoc the Obliviator, has its moments, though you’ll have to experience them for yourself.

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Ultimately, Comic Jumper is a good game with a fantastic script and limited range in terms of gameplay mechanics. For once, this is a title I would recommend based on its narrative rather than how it actually plays, a total-180 compared to most games made these days. If you can stand its arcade-rigid mechanics and a few repetitive stages, this one should keep you entertained for a while, considering the challenge levels and all the extras and jokes Twisted Pixel have stuffed in here. Just one word of advice: you’ll enjoy it more if you don’t blow through it in a day. It’s rare to find a game that’s as entertaining as Comic Jumper, even when its gameplay lags a little. Do yourself a favor, and don’t spoil it.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Comic Jumper’s visuals are slick enough to be a disc-release game.
3.0
Control
Controls are basic, but functional. Dual shooting can wear on your thumbs after awhile.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The script and voice acting is hilarious.
3.0
Play Value
Definitely a game worth playing, although surprisingly more for its script than its gameplay. Comic fans will get a kick out of the extras, which reference everything from The Dark Knight Returns to Kitchen Sink Press’ Scud.
3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Comic jump your way through four different comic book worlds
  • Hilarious storyline will keep you entertained throughout
  • Tons of unlockables and extras, including comics to read and new levels for Twisted Pixel’s ‘Splosion Man


  • Screenshots / Images
    Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot - click to enlarge

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