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
Down and Out Hero
by Steve Haske

You’ve got to be at least a little bit jealous of Twisted Pixel’s COO Josh Bear. Never mind the fact that the up-and-coming indie studio has already seen two solid XBLA titles in The Maw and ‘Splosion Man. Forget that Comic Jumper only adds to the company’s impressive pedigree. How cool would it be to see a character you created as a kid become the star of its own property?

Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot

This is exactly the case with Captain Smiley, who Bear came up in seventh grade. Right off the bat that makes Comic Jumper a true labor of love, which is evident both in the game’s quality and relatively slick production values (for an indie) as much as it is in Smiley and the various cast of ridiculous characters that populate his universe with him. There’s Smiley’s sidekick, an eponymous, sarcastic, and selfish star that’s attached to Smiley’s chest; Gerda, Smiley’s personal assistant, whom the yellow-faced hero leaves in the lurch during adventures within his own comic; and Brad, the dude-brah villain with a sorority’s worth of sexy female henchbots, and whom Star has a raging, uhm, star-crush on. Out of the whole game’s cast, in fact, there are only a couple characters who may grate on your nerves (particularly the increasingly obnoxious Dr. Winklemeyer, who talks like a cross between a stereotypical nerd and a caveman), and the writing here is as unique as it is, often, laugh-out-loud funny.

Advertisement

And for good reason, too; the basic premise for Comic Jumper is silly enough in its own right. Essentially, after screwing up one too many times in his own comic, Captain Smiley’s readership plummets, and now destitute, he is forced to take guest starring roles in other comics to raise enough cash to re-launch his solo comic. Aside from the plot, a lot of laughs come from Smiley and Star’s bickering—the two don’t really like each other that much, and often find each other at odds with what the other wants, especially when Star’s fawning over Brad, or either character’s lusting after women, gets in the way. The duo’s past, which we’re only allowed to speculate on, also makes for great one-off jokes; Smiley can even punch Star on the rare occasion his chest-residing sidekick decides to bite him. The entertainment value of these two alone may be worth the price of admission for some.

Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot

Twisted Pixel plays a pretty big comedic role in the game themselves. After the first level, we see people in the real world throwing down or destroying Smiley’s comic in exaggerated disgust, so the fourth wall is almost instantly broken down. Shortly thereafter, Gerda arranges a business agreement with Twisted Pixel themselves, who agree to lend a hand with Smiley’s dire financial situation, providing a comic jumper that lets the embattled, smiley-faced hero take guest roles in other comics. Every so often you can even talk to Twisted Pixel from Smiley’s low-rent warehouse base via a large screen next to the titular jumping machine (or have the dev team save you using a kill-everything power-up during a level), and while it’s little more than a humorous distraction, just the fact that they decided to put it in is funny enough on its own.

Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley screenshot

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

X
"Like" CheatCC on Facebook