Review: Pumpkin Jack
Pumpkin Jack: on Nintendo Switch.
A review by Megan Robinson.
Pumpkin Jack is a spooky 3D platformer game, in which you embody Jack, the Mythical pumpkin Lord. You follow the will of the devil on an adventure to help evil annihilate the good. The quest will take you on a journey in the Boredom Kingdom, a mythical realm shattered by the devil’s curse. In the game, you master the art of dodging, timing and attacks to vanquish Jack’s foes. Not only is this game a 3D platformer but also a puzzle-solving game, with the ability to unlock new weapons and skins for Jack to wear.
Pumpkin Jack took me on a nostalgia trip. It reminded me of the type of games I would play on my PlayStation 2 as a child. Down from the art style, the cutscenes and actual gameplay. It made the game that much more enjoyable for me. Each level/world is unique as you progress going from a cornfield to a cemetery to the north pole. Throughout the game, there are 20 crow skulls to find in each level (which you will need to purchase new skins and unlock certain areas,) an aspect that I simultaneously love and hate in games because I hate progressing to new levels when I know I haven’t found all of the items there is to find. In each world, there is also a gramophone to find which will give you a fun surprise. The controls for the game are easy to learn and quite simple making it easy for anyone to pick up and play.
In each level, there is a puzzle and a ‘riding’ game (both of which you will need to complete twice to progress.) Just like the platformers, each puzzle and riding game is unique to the area you are in, from riding minecarts and solving a flowers music melody. I think these parts were my favourite to play as they added something different and exciting, it broke up the generic platforming adventure with exciting sort of ‘mini games’ that you need to complete to progress further.
The characters are all unique in design and gameplay, all of them serving their own purpose and having their own personality which helped bring the game to life. The art style for the characters was colourful and matched the overall ‘evil’ tone of the game. I also loved that we are fighting for the bad side, against the humans who want to save the world (but I always love games where I’m playing the bad guy as I find them more exciting.)
My overall issue with Pumpkin Jack which ruined the gameplay and infuriated me (and my partner) multiple times is the camera mechanics. You control the camera movement with the right analogue stick, like with most games. However, the camera also partially moves as you move, meaning as you’re trying to turn/in mid-fight/mid-jump the camera moves slightly and you can’t see where you are aiming. When you add that with the fact the buttons to jump and attack are on the right-hand side also, it means you have to take your hand off of the button to turn resulting in dying many times, whether it be from falling from just missing the edge of a platform or an enemy attacking you that you couldn’t see any more due to the camera angle. The camera movement is also quite slow, when I was in the forest and having to trigger jumping mushrooms, the camera would turn too slowly and the mushrooms would disappear before I could reach the end resulting in me plummeting to my death. My partner also played parts of the game and complained of this same issue so it is not just a me problem. It’s a shame because the overall gameplay and plotline is very enjoyable but this dampens the experience.
In conclusion, Pumpkin Jack is a fun adventure game with unique puzzles and will give you that nostalgic trip to the mid- 2000s playing on your PlayStation 2. I hope that there is an update to fix the camera mechanics slightly as it would make this enjoyable game perfect. I recommend everyone to play this.
Review by Megan.