Pumpkin Jack Review
We are knee-deep in the spooky season, which I always find myself playing spooky games throughout, this year was delighted to find a trick not treat in my goodie bag in Pumpkin Jack. Which is a 3D platformer much in the same style as the cult classic MedEvil with a bit of a modern flair.
The peaceful Boredom Kingdom, with its happy citizens, monotonous calm… and adorable little bunnies, has sent the Devil himself into a flying rage! With dreams of turmoil, torture, and bloodshed on his mind, he unleashed the dreadful Curse of the Eternal Night upon the land. Not in love with the idea of a change in their peaceful lifestyle, the humans summon their savior — a mighty wizard with the power to put an end to the evil curse. To stop these party crashers from ruining his fun, the Devil summons the spirit of Jack, the Pumpkin Lord, to fight against the wizard’s army of beasts and destroy the killjoy wizard! You, as Jack, will be tearing your way through fright-filled levels as you punish those who dared defy your master!
That’s right, in this game, you are the bad guy which I find is always fun when done right. Overall this game is pretty much a straight forward action platformer, not a lot here is new or something we haven’t seen before. Jack who at the start is very akin to Jack Skellington at the open of A Nightmare Before Christmas as the Pumpkin King, makes his way through each level traversing across the landscape, leaping over obstacles, hacking and slashing enemies, and collecting things left and right.
The writing in this game, if you couldn’t tell from the plot summary above is very tongue in cheek and a lot of fun. As you make your way through Jack often has plenty of quips and dry humor about the situation at hand. Alongside his new BFF a crow that not only can be used as an attack but has some of the best lines in the game. The visuals are pretty nice with the colorful settings we see in each themed land/levels we encounter I believe six in all.
Each level has its unique boss, platforming elements, introduction to a new combat weapon, and a different gameplay style snippet whether it was horseback riding through an obstacle course, puzzles, or a demented version of whack a mole. It has enough to keep it fresh and not too stale, however, I will say there is (if you pay enough attention) a lot of recycling of the platforming elements. There are a few tower-like obstacles to get through that are the same thing used quite a few times, just skinned to fit the theme of that level. Boss battles in each level are unique and distinct with a different approach needed to vanquish your foe each time.
Now, the platforming, I mean after all that’s the style of game. But either this game has some really hard elements to that, or I am just getting too old. I think it might be a bit of both but there were a few times I found myself gritting my teeth to navigate through a certain section, and due to load times, each time you die it took a little out of my enjoyment. The instadeath when Jack hits the water (and there is a lot of it) I understand but can be frustrating to deal with.
Pumpkin Jack benefits from being a product of the season, much like Candy Corn and Pumpkin Spice Lattes there will be many people who enjoy it and others who may find it to be a tough pill to swallow. I however overall enjoyed what the developer tried to do (especially when it was all largely done by ONE person) and appreciate this mascot platformer. Especially the time I spent towards the end of the game, which seemed to be influenced by a Nightmare Before Christmas (but I enjoyed the hell out of). At 30 dollars if you are looking for something a little different before or on Halloween, this fits the bill.