A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jazzpunk is a downloadable adventure game that casts the player as a spy undertaking a handful of missions. You don't take out targets or hurt anyone but instead cause distractions or work your way through areas to carrying out your objectives. It's very silly and full of slapstick humor without blood. The more postmodern gags or meta-references to older games and cartoons will sail over younger kids' heads but won't distract or discourage them from working their way through.
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What's it about?
Set in an alternate Cold War reality, JAZZPUNK isn't about assassination or espionage so much as following your goofy director's orders. Eventually, an antagonist is revealed, and (spoiler alert) you pierce the fourth wall by discovering you're actually a character in a video game. That should serve as an indicator of how meta and madcap this game is. You spend most of your time interacting with characters, clicking on them to hear them say silly things, and then carrying on with your mission as you see fit.
Is it any good?
JAZZPUNK is great, but very distinct, and you should be aware it's somewhat short. The length (maybe about two hours, if you're motivated to blow through without getting distracted) shouldn't deter you from trying it or exposing a younger player to it; more attention and care is given to all the small details it warrants paying attention to. It plays with perception and perspective at nearly every turn (later in the game, use a computer and get a Windows error only to learn it's only a fake screen dangling from a fishing line), so it's good for stoking creativity. It also shows players the potential that video games have.
Everywhere you go in the game, you have to expect the unexpected. That can make it hard to identify what to, of course, expect or understanding what you're in for. For example, early on, your mission is to infiltrate the Russian consulate. If you talk to a frog by the side of the road on your way, you'll enter a Frogger-style mini-game to help recover his Wi-Fi receiver dongle to tap into the local Starbucks' Internet. Afterward, the frog will give you a frog visor to swat the names of networks with your tongue. This whole side mission is completely optional. Moments like that are lined up back to back for the entire game, so you'll either appreciate the game or not, depending on your personal taste and sense of humor. But Jazzpunk is so unusual, it's worth considering.
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