Jazzpunk, as a concept alone, is nearly impossible to describe. To be fair, a game set in an alternate world where the Cold War is still happening, robots walk among people, taking pills will transport you to different countries and the world still uses compact discs can be a bit much to handle. If you look below the surface though, you’ll realize that Jazzpunk is nearly perfect at what it does: creating a world where almost anything can be interacted with.
Jazzpunk features you playing the role of Agent Polyblank. The game plays like a first person, puzzle adventure game. As a spy during the Cold War, you will need to infiltrate various places, steal important documents and try to disguise yourself so as not to be noticed. As the plot thickens, you begin to unravel a plot that will put all of Polyblank’s skills to the test. As a spy game, Jazzpunk is absolutely insane. At times, Polyblank will have to put on a wig and lipstick to try to fool people into thinking he’s a woman. At others, he’ll have to use spiders to get past an angry chef. That humor carries the entire game, though. It’s incredibly easy to see why Adult Swim Games chose to publish this title.
However, if you just try to breeze through the story of Jazzpunk, you’ll miss a treasure trove of content. The game excels in putting a huge variety of random side quests and activities within the world to keep you there for hours. While each level in Jazzpunk may be small, the levels are cluttered with various characters to interact with, mini games to play and other random assorted things to do. At one point, you’ll encounter a frog who’s trying to get free Wi-Fi from the local café and end up playing an off-brand version of Frogger to help him. At another point, you’ll find a wedding cake that opens to reveal a game called “Wedding Qake”, a Jazzpunk mod that makes the game play like Quake, but with champagne corks and prenuptial agreements.
It’s rare that a comedy game has this much content packed away, but if you aren’t willing to look, you’ll likely miss out on the best parts of the game. Jazzpunk could easily be beaten within an hour but there is enough content for several hours of play time within the game. It takes things that could be considered a “distraction” and turns them into an art form, by crafting an entire game around them. Almost everything you could think of to interact with will have some form of reaction to you.
Some of those interactions are absolutely incredible. To spoil too much of these moments would be criminal, but be on the lookout for the two voice cameos from The Escapist’s Jim Sterling, as they easily feature some of the best voice acting in the game. There are other cameo’s hidden throughout and all of the voice work makes them well worth finding, as the dialogue is written incredibly well.
That said, the humor is likely going to be the most divisive part of the game. It’s nonsensical, and for some that will border on just being annoying. It’s hard to say that those people are wrong for disliking the irreverent humor that the game has to offer. Before deciding to purchase Jazzpunk, remember that Adult Swim Games published this game and, as such, it basically plays like any show on Adult Swim would. The humor is very similar to shows like Sealab 2021 or Aqua Teen Huger Force and if that kind of humor isn’t something you can get into, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll love Jazzpunk.
If you do enjoy that sort of humor, it’s hard not to recommend Jazzpunk. The humor is nearly perfect and the world is an absolute joy to be in. There is a ton of content within the world and if you’re easily distracted by trying to do every little thing that a game offers, it’s hard to imagine you won’t like it.
SCORE: 9.5 out of 10
A code for Jazzpunk was provided to Pixel Related for review.