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Preview: Comic Jumper


If one word describes Twisted Pixel's games thus far (The Maw, 'Splosion Man), it's character. Sure, the gameplay -- especially in 'Splosion Man -- is certainly more than adequate, but "Everybody Loves Donuts" and adorable little scamps who can only say "Mawwwwwwww" are really what I've taken from TP's games thus far. And, from what I played of Comic Jumper's E3 2010 build, it seems that the developer plans on continuing in this tradition with Captain Smiley, his partner Star, and the many, many characters littered throughout the game's multiple comic styles.

Which isn't to say that, you know, actually playing the game isn't a blast -- it is! At its heart, Comic Jumper is a 2D side-scroller --that said, in typical TP style, variants abound. The game quickly jumps from side-scrolling to lightgun shooting to on-rails action, intuitively adjusting the controls as it goes. Was it occasionally frustrating? Sure, but I'll allow the occasional frustration for all the yucks.

Gallery: Comic Jumper: Nanoc the Obliviator (concept art) | 29 Photos

As you've already seen in the handful of trailers released, the Captain can punch, kick, and shoot enemies -- but what about when he's in a pinch and needs some extra help? The game's special attack completely breaks the fourth wall with the fists of TP employees -- they quite literally reach out and beat the various on-screen enemies to a pulp with their very real (as in live action) fists of fury. It's moments like this that embody TP's development style -- character-based 2D games -- and made my experience with Comic Jumper so memorable.

The gameplay itself doesn't change dramatically from comic style to comic style (we played the second and third levels), but each level looked distinctly different and characters from each varied depending on which type of comic it represented. While I was only playing an E3 build and not final review code, I'd be hard-pressed not to recommend the title based on the yuck-filled half hour I spent exploring Comic Jumper. Hopefully we'll get to see how the rest of the game's comic homage-filled levels pan out sooner rather than later.

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