Manga mash-up fighter Jump Force is out today, and I feel there's something almost uniquely off-putting about its aesthetic. Don't be me wrong - I've nothing against anime - but Spike Chunsoft appear to have carefully cultivated a look for their fighter that I can only describe as 'Doofing around in Garry's Mod'. Still, despite the bizarre look, it's apparently not an awful fighter, letting you pit superheroes and villains from Japan's Shonen Jump manga anthology (or your own mad creations) against each other in three-on-three tag fights. See the overly dramatic launch trailer below.
So, we've got One Piece, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Fist Of The North Star, My Hero Academia and a mess of other manga properties all mashed up into one place. The strangest thing is that they're all trying to share a unified art style. It's unsettling to look at, with plastic anime faces attached to what look like mostly human bodies with realistic musculature. Having them fight in realistic, dimly lit cityscapes compounds the issue even more. It's a bafflingly weird thing to look at, so much so that I almost feel compelled to applaud the audacity of it all.
Mechanically, the game seems similar to the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm games, or perhaps the more recent My Hero Academia fighter. Controlled from a third-person, over-the-shoulder perspective, your character flips and dodges around, climbs walls and fires off oversized special attacks. Only two fighters on the field at once, but you can tag in other members of your team as needed. So far, review scores seem as bizarrely disparate as the character design, but most seem to think it's broadly okay. Maybe one to pick up cheap in the sales to goof around with the character creator.
Oh, and according to Kotaku's Chris Person, you can kill Naruto with a gun if you want.
Jump Force is a game that lets you shoot and kill Naruto with a gun pic.twitter.com/0P9COJD7Jn
— chris person (@Papapishu) February 14, 2019