Twisted Pixel Games is back with Comic Jumper, their latest XBLA game that is a side-scrolling shooter about a superhero whose comic has been canceled and must be earned back by jumping into other comics to deserve the return of his own series.
What’s It About?
Comic Jumper’s origins come from the middle school doodles of Twisted Pixel developer Josh Bear, who came up with the Captain Smiley superhero and sidekick Star, a talking star on his chest that resents being attached to such a lame character, that would become the stars of the latest game from Twisted Pixel Games. Comic Jumper is a side-scrolling shooter that stars comic superhero Captain Smiley, who finds out that he’s so unpopular that his series has been canceled. Another first for Comic Jumper is that this is Twisted Pixel’s first original game with some actual voice acting, as Captain Smiley, Star, and their many enemies have a lot of funny dialog and quips that add a lot to the story, which is also another thing that’s new for Twisted Pixel.
Luckily, a strange group by the name of Twisted Pixel picks up the troubled superhero and offers to help him get back on his feet by giving him a new base and a new Comic Jumper machine that lets him enter other comics for guest appearances as a way to earn some money to revive his series. It’s a weird degree of fan service to see the developers of the game actually appear in their own game as a driving force of the story with plenty of references to The Maw and ‘Splosion Man that constantly breaks the fourth wall in crazy and hilarious ways.
Comic Jumper itself is a side-scrolling shooter that also features some 3D sections where it becomes more of an on-rails shooter in the vein of games like Sin & Punishment. Between missions, you can explore the new base and interact with former villains and sidekicks from his cancelled series along with some other bonuses.
Why Should I Care?
Twisted Pixel has a knack for creating great games and Comic Jumper is no different, as the side-scrolling shooter mechanics are fun and provide for a challenging game that is more in line with ‘Splosion Man’s difficulty. Another difficulty comparison is that Gunstar Heroes is one of the main influences for Comic Jumper, though I wouldn’t say that it’s that hard since the checkpoints are generous and there is an aim assist option to help you if you’re having trouble with the difficulty.
Since the money you earn by completing missions is one of the biggest parts of the game, there are additional money-earning opportunities tied to how well you performed in that mission that can be spent in the store, which can be divided between upgrades to Captain Smiley directly and bonus content like concept art, videos, gamerpics, a premium theme, and more. If you’re in need of even more money, there are a few challenge levels for each of the series in the main campaign that just offer a quick level for grinding some money and leaderboards.
The only issue I have with the money aspect is that through beating the story missions and about half of the challenge levels, I had enough money to completely upgrade Captain Smiley before the last mission and then buy up the rest of the bonus content after I completed the game, which means I don’t have much reason to go back and play those levels besides maybe one or two of the last remaining achievements. The only other issues I had were with the platforming controls, which aren’t nearly as tight as ‘Splosion Man’s controls.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Comic Jumper is another great game from Twisted Pixel that may not have as much value as ‘Splosion Man, but it makes up for it in bonuses and overall quality of the game to be worth 1200 points ($15 in the real world. The bonus content includes a lot of info on the game’s development and various aspects of the game, interviews with voice actors, early footage of the game, and even tangible items like gamerpics, a premium theme, some avatar awards, and some new levels for ‘Splosion Man. The campaign took us just over six hours to complete with a few more hours spent in the base and on challenge levels, which is plenty of quality content for the price.