Category: Platform games
Compatibility: app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
Requirements: iOS 4.0 or later
File Size: 71.1MB
Age Rating: 4+
Jazz: Trump’s Journey is quite likely my new favorite iOS app. Here’s a game that takes traditional platform gameplay, gives it a refreshing twist, and wraps it up in such a beautiful package that it’s difficult to not be won over by its charm.
A lot of iOS games have charm, but that’s it. Jazz also provides some quality gameplay and enough interesting levels to keep you going well past your intended gameplay session. While working through my preview copy of this game, I went to bed too late on numerous nights, and started work too late on many mornings.
Why? I think it’s because of the music, or at least the style that goes along with it. Jazz: Trump’s Journey gets two things right. First, the graphics are a very stylized version of 1920s New Orleans; kind of like a unique, Disney take on it. The levels are fun to look at, be they on the rooftops or in dungeon-like prisons.
The characters are fun, too; reminiscent of a bygone era of animation. It all comes together in a package that looks smooth and plays smoothly, the latter point being extremely important in a platformer.
Trump is journeying, after all. Drawing parallels from the life of jazz great Louis Armstrong, Trump needs to win the love of Lady Coquelicot. He can only do so through music, so he needs to enter a band contest. But first, he needs a band, and must battle racism and injustice to get it.
Trump spends the game hunting down that “sound,” and the quest actually carries over to the music. At the beginning, as he’s searching for a drummer, the soundtrack is strictly percussion. When he goes searching for a trombone player, horns are added. All of the music is recorded by ambiguously described “jazz musicians,” and it sounds great.
But, as I’ve mentioned, all of the style in the world wouldn’t amount to much if the game weren’t fun, and it really is. You control left/right movement with virtual buttons on the left side of the iPhone or iPad screen, and jump with the arrow button on the right. When you can open a door or interact with an object (such as pulling boxes), a hand appears above the jump button. When you can move up and down ladders, up/down arrows appear above the left/right arrows.
For the most part, Jazz: Trump’s Journey is slow enough to allow you to explore and time your moves/jumps properly. You have no weapons, so it’s important to evade enemies or jump on them to stun or remove them. You also have your trumpet, though. When blown, it stops certain elements on the screen.
There are puzzles to solve and hidden objects to find, so expect a lot of familiar gameplay, right down to the Sonic the Hedgehog style boss battles. The only drawback to all of this is that some portions are surprisingly and needlessly difficult. For the most part, areas in which I died (at which point you return to the last checkpoint) were eventually conquered by figuring out the right way to get form point A to point B. However, a couple areas (especially timed ones) were just relentless, and it was only after a few dozen attempts that I was able to get through. Normally, I’ll completely quit a game after hitting such a wall. It speaks volumes for the game that I was willing to stick with it.
Jazz: Trump’s Journey should win awards; it’s that good. It’s attractive, it’s charming, it’s funny and it’s a total blast to play. The developers at Eggball have created something kind of magical here…and hey; that’s yet another parallel to the life of Louis Armstrong.
Buy Jazz: Trump’s Journey