Following the release of The Blackwell Deception, Wadjet Eye are publishing Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass, a comedy wrestling adventure from Icebox, who released an earlier game starring the same characters. What of those characters? They are a trio of wrestlers who live together in a tiny apartment and ply their oily trade in the Wrestle Zone. When Brain, their most egotistical and feeble-bodied member, wins a championship belt, he is kidnapped shortly afterwards. Thus begins a quest so save him from his unknown abductors. The game is due on February 29th and the demo is available now. I donned some tights and played it through. Thoughts and a trailer follow.
Everyone who meets me tends to comment on my potential as a high-flying submission specialist. I was born with the kind of physique that could dominate the squared circle and it's only my aversion to the slightest possibility of pain that has prevented me from becoming a semi-nude superstar. So, imagine my excitement at the possibility of combining my love of clicking a button on a mouse and pretending to be beaten up by large man! It was a great deal of excitement.
I was a little put off by the first couple of scenes, mainly because Brain is an obnoxious little so-and-so , but once the opening is out of the way and control switches to a second character things improve rapidly. The fact that everyone else is as irritated/apathetic about Brain as I had become while controlling him was a relief. He's an insufferable wretch.
The animation is a mixed bag, though that's at least somewhat intentional with different styles for different characters. It's most obvious with the two dimensional angular giant who is the only witness to the crime, but the whole city and the people in it have an inconsistency about them. I've warmed to the visuals now, which is more than I can say for the inconsistencies in the voice acting.
As in the trailer, so in the game. Some of the voices fit, some of them don't. The written dialogue is fine and there's plenty of it, but some of the acting detracts from the characterisation. Most of the humour is gentle and there isn't a reliance on timing, which means in my grumbly hypercritical way I was contented to click through some of the babbling.
The puzzles are simple and sensible. There's no 'use the tuna with the trombone' but a bit of 'use the water with the fire'. I don't play point and click adventures to experience real world applications of objects upon one another, but it's a good idea to establish the warped logic of a game world before expecting the player to puzzle his/her way through it. I suspect that's what these early scenes are doing - establishing the way of things.
Despite being set around the ludicrous modern day carnival that is professional wrestling, the characters are laidback, any outrageous or grotesque qualities almost immediately buried beneath comparatively dull inner lives and a slacker approach to the situation. Indeed, that's the source of the comedy; the absurdity of the performer out of costume, even if those costumes sometimes seem like a skin.
There's not a huge amount to do in the demo but enough to pin my interest to the mat of intrigue. I'm eager to see the rest of the city and the folks within, particularly after watching a couple of the animations over at the Icebox website. Chris Burton, the chap who created the game, is an animator first and foremost and there are some quality shorts over there. Here's one now. An award winner, no less!