Developer: Nicolas Meyssonnier
Publisher: Headup Games
Platforms: PS4, Switch, X Box One, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 23/10/2020
£24.99 £19.99/ $29.99 $23.99
On sale till 12/11/20
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Pumpkin Jack is the pinnacle of anti-hero and perfect for its Halloween release. You play as the Trickster Jack who has had his soul bright back to Boredom Kingdom to stop the heroic wizard for the devil. Something a little different.
Made by one developer Nicolas Meyssonnier, this is something special a mix of medieval and Jak and Daxter. However, that’s some big shoes to fill. Does Pumpkin Jack live up to the big words of the dev? To some extent, yes it does, others it fall down, but one guy did this so kudos to you sir.
Split up in two distinct aspects, platforming and fighting. The former felt tight as well done with Jack being responsive. This pleasantly surprised me, I was not expecting the platforming to be bad, just not as tight as it was. With plenty of puzzles to solve as Jack and Jack’s head…? They were spread out enough to not feel like fillers to levels and were simple enough to solve, allowing for gamers of all ages to play.
There are a few aspects of the platforming puzzle parts that fell down. The camera had a few problems making platforming a game of jump and hope you are over the next platform. Luckily, this was not a constant problem, just when it happened it was annoying. There are a few puzzles that are just trail and error, the mine cart where on-screen prompts tell the player what to do. Most will fail at this a few times and believe me, this got annoying fast.
The fighting elements are decent but very simple; Swing weapon, dodge-roll. At times it felt too simple would have liked a bit of tactical fighting, however, it’s not bad. Also, Jack has access to a crow partner who will do distance attacks allowing for the allowing shooting enemies to be dispatched without getting close. I like this wee addition, again simple but broke up the melee only gameplay.
Pumpkin Jack is spread over six levels that feel sizable but not massive. There are is the stereotypical world grave-yards and swamps, with a surprise in there. With a game length of around 6 hours, its very reminiscent of platformers of old.
If you are looking for a simple platform that feels like games of old (ps1/ps2) then Pumpkin Jack has you covered. One sole developer, he has done a good job of making a fun game. Slight lack of polish, but can hold it against him? I can’t, I would recommend this title, when it is on sale.