I think all children made a comic at some point along with original characters to fill the pages. I had a depressed middle-aged man Mr. Big Nose who only wore boxer shorts and Max, a stick man version of Mighty Max. I loved drawing up stories for them even if my drawings were terrible and even now sometimes I doodle Max, not that it is very difficult. A stick man crossed with Rayman wearing a red cap, only I think it has any charm, only I. The reason I bring this up is Comic Jumper is a game based on a character one of the people behind the game designed as a kid. A bulky man with a round head and a talking star on his chest, but better than my stick man.
Comic Jumper is a side scrolling action game which has you shooting punching and more shooting. Captain Smiley has unlimited bullets with no reload worries and only in certain scenes will he put it away for some melee action. Sometimes the game switches to a behind the shoulder view for some fun on rails shooting segments and the game throws one of these sections or a boss in when the shooting and jumping starts to get boring. Sometimes it is annoyingly difficult as enemies sometimes feel like they take an eternity to defeat and by the end of the game it just feels better to run through if you aren’t in the mood. The gameplay is normal and nothing spectacular or terrible but Comic Jumper isn’t just about the game, the presentation is what makes this something a little better than your standard run and gun.
The game feels like a comic book as you have sound effect writing and the way you jump put of the comic and into the next scene every so often which is an awesome visual touch. Captain Smiley is a rubbish character who needs to freelance into other comics which means we get a Fantasy style setting, 60’s style setting and manga outside of Smiley’s own series which leads to drastic visual changes and appearances of the characters. Playing the manga world in black and white, right to left is striking after the colourful cel shaded world of the 60’s.
The jokes throughout are hit and miss though as Smiley and Star can often come across as unfunny but when you have a scene with Smiley kicking a robot girl and riding down a skyscraper on her back you realise it isn’t all going to be flat delivery. By the end of the game (which took me ten hours to complete everything) I had become quite fond of the main leads and the little music ditties with lyrics and a special attack featuring a member of Twisted Pixel headbutting the screen only add to my love of the whole experience. The game is stuffed full of concept art, music tracks and loads of little touches which make it an experience full of soul even if the crude humour and sometimes tedious gameplay annoys me sometimes.