3D exploration games have deared Esther, they’ve pro-ed teus, they’ve gone home and now they are doing jokes.
“Oh I see, here it is, a joke, fair enough” is a far-better-than-average response for video game humour and it’s no exaggeration to say I “Oh I see, here it is, a joke, fair enough”-ed several times over the couple of hours Jazzpunk takes. Sadly there’s still plenty of the video game staples like “foreigners: bit weird,eh?”, “remember this other thing?” and holds-up-spork “randomness” peppered among the surreal participatory gags, the strongest of which target gaming conventions.
Jazzpunk also Kojimas more than once, creating excellent mechanics-based jokes that end up squarely on the player. But when it does work it meekly echoes the Goons, using what is taken for granted about a medium to totally undercut expectations just like in the dictionary definition of jokes.
Playing Jazzpunk is like a first experience of physical intimacy: messy, full of dull stretches despite its brevity and more fun to talk about than be there for. Everything looks like it should be working pretty great but, because of misplaced emphasis and poor restraint; it’s functionally the same as getting repeatedly punched in the nuts.