The Ill Communication


Developer: Necrophone Games
Publisher: Adult Swim
U.S. February 7, 2014

Box Quote: "An adventure comedy game & poorly made word processor"

This game contains about 90% nonsense.  But this is a good thing.

Actually, you can beat the game in a very short amount of time.  On my second run, I completed it in 31 minutes.  However, during my first play it was around 8 hours.  Why is this, you may ask?  Well, the main objectives in the game are short, but each level is extremely rich in details; which include NPC interactions, side missions, and items to play with.

Whoa!  I’m jumping ahead of myself.  Let me explain the story.  Jazzpunk has you control a character named Polyblank, who is sent to an organization (or agency) that deals with espionage.  Your missions are given to you by a man named The Director, where his office is located in an abandoned subway station.  Each mission has you going to different lo-cals that are rich in details.  Having you get lost in hours of all its lunacy.  I want it to be clear that this game does not take it self seriously at all.  Comedic experiences is what this game values.  This is great because I love comedy in a game, especially one that focuses on comedy as its primary objective.

For example, someone may want you to degauss pigeons and then smuggle one into the next level of the game.  Another is trying some food a chef insists you eat, and then spitting it all over him when you hear what it’s made of.  Another is helping someone wipe their face clean after eating, or looking through a coin-operated binocular device and seeing…well I’ll save that one for you to experience.

I really love the level designs.  They remind me of PC adventure games from the ‘90s.  They are large, open, and designed for you to explore.  Where details are crammed into every nook and cranny of the level’s environment and interaction with items, devices, and people are high; all of which have a comical outcome.  A lot of atmosphere is given to the player in both visuals and audio -- the audio especially.  I enjoyed how each level has music coming from specific locations in the surrounding environment.  With headphones, you can pinpoint where the music is coming from, but there is no actual device that is outputting the music.  Think of it as an invisible speaker.  And as you move further away from this location, the music will fade and you’ll begin to pick up music from another spot you’re walking closer towards.  The color palates that make the level are great too; giving everything a sort of cartoony look that “pops” in vibrancy.

The game leans ever-so-lightly on the cyberpunk genre, which should give you an idea of the type of world the game is set in.  It’s a setting where high technology is mixed and infused with traditional or old timey structures.

I hate to call it an “experience,” because there is enough structure -- such as mission objectives -- to have it be a game, but you’ll be spending the majority of your time just goofin’ around each level trying to do everything but the mission objective.  The controls are extremely basic FPS controls, allowing this to be an easy-to-pickup kind of game where you can start checking out the world immediately, so no tutorials are necessary.

Two commercials/trailers were created for this game.  One is a larger and more ambitious commercial which mainly includes live action that actually aired on TV!  And while that’s cool, I didn’t care for this one because it seemed misleading for what the game’s main story was all about.  I could be wrong regarding this if there is a larger arching story tied to what happens in this game, but I feel the Thunderbirds parody trailer did a better job of showing off the game and its style.

I get the idea this game was a labor of love because of how small the development team was and from all of the odd references that were sprinkled throughout the game.  From start to finish, this game will make you laugh and appreciate every little geeky reference they were able to cram into this game.  But not in that annoying way where you get the feeling they’re winking at you all the time saying, “Remember this.  Huh (nudge) huh!”

Posted on: October 9, 2014