JAZZ: Trump’s Journey scores brilliantly on iOS

Jan 20, 2012
Games

The 1920’s jazz era is hardly the standard backdrop for a 2-D platformer, but Bulkypix and Egg Ball have something new that merges the two beautifully. JAZZ: Trump’s Journey takes all the best elements from platformers, and combines them with great controls and a music-themed story that is based (very) loosely on the life of […]

The 1920’s jazz era is hardly the standard backdrop for a 2-D platformer, but Bulkypix and Egg Ball have something new that merges the two beautifully. JAZZ: Trump’s Journey takes all the best elements from platformers, and combines them with great controls and a music-themed story that is based (very) loosely on the life of Louis Armstrong. If your platform-gaming diet is getting bland, JAZZ adds some Cajun spice to the genre.

The graphics and cut scenes are beautiful period pieces, evocative of the era. The hand-drawn look is reminiscent of early silent Disney shorts. The developers try to fit Armstrong’s experiences into the game: Trump, the protagonist, whom you control right from the menu screen, is a would-be (what else) trumpeter, and sets off to find his ideal band mates and ladylove. But, all is not sweet harmony. Trump, like his inspiration, encounters racism, even jail.

The music is the coups de grace. As Trump collects instruments and band members, the scoring becomes more complex and compelling. Everything in the game moves to the groove. The English syntax could use some editing, but beyond that, artistically JAZZ is a triumph. Some of the racial imagery might be as much provocative as evocative, but the game is clearly homage not derision, however dicey a line that is to straddle.

The music and concept are intriguing, but I was surprised at how much fun JAZZ is as a game. The controls just work: Buttons for climbing up and down, and others for occasional use disappear until needed, freeing lots of screen real estate. Trump’s horn has magical time-freezing powers, there are collectible photographs strewn across levels, and hidden areas to uncover. The obstacles, both agility-based and logic, are not overly complex, and lots of checkpoints make this a good entry-level platformer. The basic mechanics and varied gameplay, however, will appeal to seasoned fans of the genre.

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In a week full of hot release, don’t let this musical gaming odyssey pass you by. JAZZ: Trump’s Journey is a winner.

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Lisa Caplan

Lisa Caplan writes app lists and guides as well as reviewing iOS apps and games on various tech sites, most recently on her fledgling iPhone and iPad giveaway blog, AppTudes. She is thrilled to be joining the stellar reviewing team at Appolicious. Located in a balmy Montreal suburb, Lisa has an advanced degree in Creative Writing, and has had an Apple computer by her side since 1979! She is a talentless art nut, bibliophile and accessory junkie. Lisa looks forward to sharing her gaming addiction and love for all tech that promotes culture, communication, social awareness and education at every level.

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