Friday, September 4, 2015

Game Reviews: Yeah Jam Fury

I mentioned in Monday's post that there was a game that Transmorpher 3 reminded me of that I'd never reviewed; realizing that I'd never mentioned Yeah Jam Fury was rather surprising to me*.

While this banner displays the three characters apparently hanging out together, in-game they seemingly shapeshift into each other; it's one of those videogame character switch things one probably shouldn't think too hard about.

Anyway, the game is a purely puzzle platformer, with only falling and one's own ineptitude as hazards.

The first of the three characters, the yellow guy, an apparently easygoing fellow who seems pretty cheerful except when falling to his doom, has the power to materialize yellow blocks from a limited reserve. This lets him build platforms and even stairs to simplify jumping and go places he couldn't otherwise, and if you learn the trick you can even brake him in midair to save him from a fall. He's also good at jumping, able to clear a jump comparable to his own height.

The second of the three characters, the blue guy, can run fast, walljump, and use his hammer to fling himself long horizontal distances. He's a neat concept, but unfortunately his walljumps are finicky and he doesn't get as much elevation with his normal jumps as the yellow guy (his hammer flings can get similar lift, but only over long distances), so he's a clumsy, awkward character that I have a hard time using properly. Which is a shame, because he actually enables the silliest and most fun maneuver in the entire game (more on that in a moment).

The third of the three characters, the HUGE, LOUD, and very boisterous red guy, breaks yellow blocks (which adds them to the yellow guy's reserve), can't jump, and takes huge stomping steps that cover a minimum distance and shake the screen, causing the yellow blocks (which have animated faces) to cringe. He also just generally makes the yellow blocks nervous.

There's a couple of different ways he can break blocks; the simplest is by punching them, and he can clear a pretty wide area around himself. He also clears blocks automatically if one of the other characters is in an area crowded by the blocks and changes into him**, and most entertainingly, he can even clear them through high-speed collisions.

Said high-speed collisions are enabled by either running off a ledge or having another character jump/fling and change into him in midair***. Having the blue guy hammerfling himself at a wall of yellow blocks and changing into the red guy on the way there is incredibly fun; the feeling it gives me specifically is essentially the "popping bubble wrap" feeling.

This is helped along by the sound effect they chose for block clearing is a popping sound, and by the sound design of the game in general. It has really cheery music that can turn a frustrating death into a funny moment, and what's more, the characters have voice acting that they use to emote-including multiple very funny voice clips they tend to use when they fall to their dooms. (The voicework is also a reasonably substantial part of why the fling-into-red-guy maneuver is so incredibly fun.)

This game mostly feels really polished and is a lot of fun both when you're doing well and when you've just screwed up. It can still be frustrating, but it manages to take a lot of the stress out of things that are incredibly annoying in other games. The few issues are that the blue guy's abilities feel a bit tacked on and he's a lot harder to control than the other two characters and some of the level designs are a pain in the butt if you bite at walljumping as much as I do, but even with that, I can recommend playing around with this game, because it's just a blast.

*I chose to link the game's homepage partly because it's actually a really neat homepage whose background is actually affected by which level you're on. If you've ever seen those ads on Hulu that change the whole webpage when they come up, it's like that but less intrusive.

**Entertainingly, it's possible for a character to respawn partly overlapping a block or for the yellow guy to materialize a block over his own head. When this happens, the red guy takes over automatically as if he were the Avengers movie version of the Hulk.

***These are too fun and easy to qualify for the "tricky common maneuver" status mentioned in the Transmorpher 3 post. Walljumps, on the other hand...

-Signing off.

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