If there's one thing I want more of in this world it's Halloween games. No, not horror. Halloween—the heavily consumerist version they sling in department stores with plastic pumpkins, green witches, and ghost lawn ornaments. I've had my eye on Pumpkin Jack, to that end, and am happy to hear that the 3D platforming spookfest is launching this month. Beyond that, it's in the current Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition where you can give its first level a try.
Jack is a famed trickster who's been slapped into a body with a pumpkin for a head in service of ye olde Devil. The world's been turned into eternal night, you see, which is good. There's a wizard out there trying to turn it back though, which is bad. The Devil's usual baddies are real slackers, so Jack's been put on the case. Armed initially with a shovel for whacking, legs for double jumping, and a crow friend for ranged attacks, Jack is off to find the wizard.
I dashed right through Pumpkin Jack's first level in the demo and oh boy it is a one-two whammy of comfort food. It's got the bright colors and forgiving jumps (aside from one early hop across a river) that takes me back to the mascot-filled platformers of the late 90s. That, and it's my favorite flavor of Halloween. There are evil crows, cauldrons of green goop, and a soundtrack of spooky choirs and clanging bells.
In just the first level, I've been toured through classics like floating collectibles and a snarky tutorial guide. There was the classic mad dash through an area that's collapsing around me. There's a bit where Jack can pop off his head and send it into a barn solo to solve a little puzzle with levers. Ah yes, and a boss with three phases that required me to mix timed jumps with melee attacks and then zip in and smack it in the face while it was dazed. Is it difficult? Nah, not the first level anyway. But oh is it ever a mood.
You can give level one of Pumpkin Jack a go yourself during the Steam Game Festival that's currently running until next Tuesday, October 13th. Developer Nicolas Meyssonnier will be livestreaming it as part of the festival this Friday, October 9th at 9pm BST / 1pm PDT.