JAZZ: Trump's Journey
Sure, the game's fun, but can you say "Lady Coquelicot" three times fast?
Bulkypix's JAZZ: Trump's Journey has the benefit of being one of the more unique and stylish games on the App Store. It also helps that it's enjoyable, full of intriguing puzzles and objects to find. The biggest knock against this iPhone and iPad adventure is, surprisingly, a lack of music in relation to the gameplay. Odd, considering music plays such a prominent role.
The game takes place in 20th century New Orleans. You take on the role of Trump, an aspiring jazz musician that sets off to assemble a band and win the heart of the beautiful Lady Coquelicot.
Armed with his powerful trumpet, Trump has the ability to freeze time, which ultimately boils down to pausing moveable platforms, allowing him to reach ledges and wall jump to new locations, collecting musical notes and hidden photographs along the way.
Later, you'll push and pull crates (something you've probably done in countless games before), swing along rope and jump on police officers' heads.
No, the levels don't reinvent the platform genre, but what's here works surprisingly well. The developers at EggBall clearly drew inspiration from past games and must have taken great notes, since the level design and controls (right and left to move in those directions, up and down while on ladders and rope) get the job done, though nailing cops takes practice.
The game's coolest feature, though, is the presentation. The developers gave Trump's Journey an old Hollywood style feel to mimic films from the time period, along with character designs and architecture that pull you into the respective era. We're still on the fence as to whether Trump could be offensive. EggBall chose to display African Americans a certain way, and it'll be interesting to see how the game's audience responds.
As for the music, expect to hear plenty of foot tapping jazz tunes that only get better the further you progress and pick up more band members. The game tends to replay the same song repeatedly, but on the positive side, it's a good one.
Although we dig this game, it's obvious right from the start that Trump's Journey could've been so much better. Bulkypix released it with some grammatical errors the developers will fix in a future update, but that's a non-issue compared to the great disconnect between the music and platform action.
This is a clear case of missed potential. EggBall had the opportunity to tie all the jumping to music, similar to Sound Shapes on PlayStation Vita. We had hoped for an experience that seamlessly blended audio with Mario inspired shenanigans, but all we received was a platformer. A good one, no question, but it could've been so much cooler.
As for the story, it loosely follows the life of Louis Armstrong, but fails to communicate why Trump's in trouble with the law, or how he winds up in jail to begin with. We suggest you treat him as a new character, and not a cartoon representation of someone else.
As it stands, JAZZ: Trump's Journey is a good but not exceptional game. Definitely worth playing because we feel it's one of the more intriguing titles on the App Store, but just a step short of being one of the year's best.
Review code provided by Bulkypix.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.Requires iOS 4.0 or later.
What's Hot: New Orleans brought to life, enjoyable music, rock solid touch controls, quality platforming, Game Center, universal.
What's Not: Obvious disconnect between music and platforming, so-so story.