Monday, October 21, 2013

The Episodic Adventure with Bigfoot Begins

Quick Fix: Jacob Jones is a great puzzle game for pick-up and play on the PS Vita and for a cheap price of $3.99, it’s an easy buy for gamers looking for light entertainment.

The PS Vita is in a unique position to port over games that are both mobile and console quality. So for every Uncharted, you’ll see a Fruit Ninja and for every Jetpack Joyride you’ll see an Assassin’s Creed, at least in theory. This makes the platform an amazing bed of experimentation and ports, with both good and bad games. Jacob Jones is a mix of both, as the game was designed for release on both mobile platforms and PS Vita specifically. Though it’s only Episode 1 out of 5, Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery shines with tough puzzles and amazing presentation.

In Jacob Jones, you control … (wait for it) … Jacob Jones! The game starts off with Jacob’s parents shipping him off to Camp Eagle Feather for the summer. While getting settled in, Jacob comes across the mysterious Bigfoot, and the adventure begins. The story is silly and simple, which is perfect for this style of ‘pick up and play’, type game.

The game utilizes the Unreal Engine 3, so the graphics look fantastic, especially with all the bright colors popping off of the models and environments. Each character has a unique voice actor, and though some are grating to hear over and over again, they fit the characters being portrayed very well. This game could easily be considered console quality off of looks and audio alone.

The game looks stunning, especially on the Vita's OLED screen

 The game controls using touch controls through out it's entirety, acting like a mouse pointer in a point and click adventure game. So if you are not a big fan of that control style, stay away. It’s smooth to control, though I couldn’t help but wish from some real controls, similar to those in Machinarium in it’s port on PS Vita.

It is rather surprising how difficult the puzzles are. Amazingly, each puzzle is completely different than any other puzzle in the game, with exception of maybe two out of the twenty-four brainteasers.

The first of many challenging puzzles to solve.
However, the player has many options to help crack the puzzle, with a hint system built around spending tickets to get more information to help solve the brain teasers. Spending the least amount of tickets yields a quick hint, the next tier will give more insight and spending the 3rd ticket tier will have Jacob call his older brother for the best hint. Though I’m sure hardcore puzzle game fans won’t like this, I enjoyed the option, especially for the puzzles that I just could not wrap my head around. And though the hints are helpful, they are far from full answers for most of the puzzles. There is a possibility to spend all your tickets and getting left without a precious hint, but I never reached that point myself.

While not solving puzzles, there are plenty of birds called Gnatnobblers to see and cans to recycle, all hidden across the summer camp. These cans are not just collectibles, but they also help add to the ticket counter to spend on hints. However, once all the puzzles are solved and cans found, there isn’t much left to do, until Episode 2 that is.

If you want an easy experience without difficult brain exercises, you probably should look somewhere else. If you are looking for a good head scratcher and a cute story and are willing to commit to 4 more episodes, Jacob Jones is a great addition to the PS Vita library.

7.5 out of 10

Here's Some Links:
The Official Game Website 
The Metacritic Site 
Developer Q & A 

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