Games

'Jazzpunk' Is Not a Game. Jazzpunk Is a Style.

It’s as if the pair at Necrophone Games threw the entirety of their geeky lives into a blender, made cookies from it, and then used those cookies as action figures in a spy game.


Jazzpunk

Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Price: $14.99
Players: 1
Developer: Necrophone Games
Platform: PC
Release Date: 2014-02-07
URL

Jazzpunk is not a game. Jazzpunk is a style. It’s not just cyberpunk with jazz, though it kind of is cyberpunk with jazz. It’s also a conglomeration of toys from throughout one’s life, with an extravagant 60’s soundtrack that emphasizes your every action. It’s a retro-future world of wetware, cybernetics, frog porn, and smoking pies with sunglasses, and it’s a techie sense of humor that feels both random and perfectly logical. To play Jazzpunk is to jump headfirst and blindfolded into the mind of its developer.

It’s a weirdly personal game, filled with jokes, references, callbacks, and parodies that feel utterly disconnected and random but that actually represent a very specific life. It’s the life of someone who grew up with Power Rangers, Warcraft, Blockbuster Video, Naked Gun, with some Thunderbirds thrown in, and who really, really loves puns. It’s as if the pair at Necrophone Games threw the entirety of their geeky lives into a blender, made cookies from it, and then used those cookies as action figures in a spy game.

Jazzpunk the style is super weird in very special way.

Jazzpunk the game isn’t anything special. It’s billed as a “first-person slapstick comedy," and that’s as good as any way to describe it in gaming terms. Honestly, though, things like genre, mechanics, controls, objectives, and story are meaningless to Jazzpunk. As such, it’s best compared to games like Gravity Bone or Thirty Flights of Loving. It’s got that Duplo-block aesthetic and a spy story that provides little to no context for your actions.

Jazzpunk is more about exploration than interactivity. It’s filled with references to movies and games, but it’s not just about those references. It doesn’t think that a reference is funny all on its own, that reference usually leads into some other slapstick joke. Jazzpunk is a game of unbridled free association, which means it’s so packed with stuff that it can be overwhelming and exhausting if played for long periods of time. You could easily finish the game in a single sitting, but after 30 minutes, you owe your mind a break. There’s no challenge to the game, but that’s one of the best things about it. Jazzpunk is the game equivalent of a stand-up comedian: You’ll come in, sit back, relax, and he’ll pelt you with jokes for a couple hours, And you’ll hopefully laugh and have a good time.

Jazzpunk defies categorization. You could call it an adventure game or a spy game and you’d be partly right, but what it really is, when you get right down to it, is a celebration of a life of geekery, and it’s hard not to enjoy that.

8

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.

Books

David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.