JAZZ: Trump's Journey|
Weíve been reviewing iOS games now for almost two years, so when I tell you that Jazz: Trumpís Journey is our first perfect 10 game on the iPad you can be sure it is something special. If you own an iPad and enjoy platform gaming at its finest along with a bit of New Orleans jazz, then skip the rest of this review and get over to the iTunes store and pick this up now.
The premise is simple. You play as Trump, an aspiring musician off to seek fortune and fame in the big city, but first he has to assemble a band. This requires exploring some fiendishly clever puzzles that take you across rooftops, inside buildings, and other fanciful locations in search of potential musicians. Along the way youíll be wanting to collect musical notes that are spread out in linear Pac-Man dot fashion as well as locate several photographs Ė some extremely well hidden Ė before you reach the end. If you have collected all the notes you get a bonus photograph.
In true platform style, Trump will run, jump, swing, climb ladders, wall-slide, and even do a Prince of Persia chimney jump, but navigation is only half the battle. Armed with your trusty trumpet, you can play music to affect your environment, usually freezing moving bits of architecture or even the troublesome cop. This allows you to temporarily rearrange things to get where you need to go, but in later levels you will find objects that are immune to your musical charms. And of course, you can push and pull boxes around to use as platforms or weights on pressure-sensitive switches.
Platform games live or die by their controls so I was amazed at just how well the touch controls worked with this game Ė it was just as good as any controller-based game Iíve played. I was able to do precision jumps and swings and even land on a copís head to knock him out. The primary controls are on the screen at all times while other more immediate actions will trigger their own icon. There is a great sense of physics, both in the weight of objects likes the boxes you shove around as well as Trump who has some realistic momentum that makes playing the game a joy.
Solid gameplay is only enhanced by one of the most charming presentations Iíve ever experience on my iPad. The jazzy background music has an authentic swag and I love the way they integrate music into the actual gameplay to freeze objects, often creating some highly original solutions to some fairly challenging puzzles. The graphics are nothing short of stunning in their own retro-20ís style. The simple but elegant silent-movie cutscenes, the gorgeous levels with multi-layered backgrounds, and even the interactive front-end that has you walking and climbing around to access levels and game options is the epitome of style.
Jazz is a solid 8+ hour game, especially if you are looking for every last hidden photo. I had to replay some of the levels several times to find a few of them. The game features frequent checkpoints that will keep you from repeating too much should you fall or get nicked by the coppers. And with some fun achievements to strive for, youíll get more than your moneyís worth with Trumpís Journey.
The best compliment I can give Jazz: Trumpís Journey is that this could easily be a $15 game on XBLA or PSN, and I honestly hope it makes it into those consoles because this is a game that needs to be seen and played by those who might not have an iPad. But until then, those of you with one should already be playing what has become my all-time favorite iPad game. So head on down to Bourbon Street and help make Trump's momma proud...