Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass

 

 

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Icebox Studios

Publisher:    Wadjet Eye Games

Released:  February 2012

PC Requirements:  SVGA/XGA (640x480), Windows

 

 

 

by Becky

 

This game opens during a professional wrestling competition: Da New Guys vs. The Forces of Destruction. Da New Guys team members include Defender (smart and conscientious), Simon (strong and cynical) and Brain (weak and self-absorbed). Brain, whose only prior win was against a bespectacled eight-year-old, stumbles across a weapon that stuns the other wrestlers. He then claims the title belt.

Astonished that the worst wrestler among them is now victorious, dozens of competitors led by Ice Cold (the former champion) gather to demand that Brain return the title belt. Brain flees the scene and is kidnapped by persons unknown -- though speculation abounds that the kidnappers are really after the belt.

Make your Move

Da New Guys harks back to the classic point-and-click adventure games by LucasArts. Ostensibly about professional wrestling, the story really concerns celebrity and the bonds of friendship. The cast of over-the-top characters includes heroes, unconventional villains, and not-so-innocent bystanders.

Dialogs are frequent, though brief; they feature tongue-in-cheek humor and zinging one-liners. Professional voiceovers ably complement the story. Quirky character animation suits the game's cartoon-like esthetic.

Two characters are playfully defined by their lack of animation. The roughly drawn (almost one-dimensional) Ice Box bumps about without moving his legs. Defender's face never betrays emotion or expression because it is always covered by a visor, which is something of an in-joke among his friends (he takes head protection seriously). Defender's cultivated English accent contrasts with his superhero-like wrestling garb. Does the face under the visor explain the contrasts?

Working Class Toontown

Environments are stylized with blocks of bright color -- reminiscent of a comic strip. Jazzy background music plays while the characters travel to different sites, made accessible from a top-down map. Locations include the Wrestle Zone (a large arena), an island prison, and the adjacent town. A favorite is the Cosmic Burger, where customers ride a conveyor belt as "space cadets." Bouncy muzak is heard in the Cosmic Burger, and carnival tunes accompany the puppet show at the beach.

Who Choreographed this?

You assume the role of each of Da New Guys during the game. You don't choose which role -- except in a sequence when you control both Simon and Brain, going back and forth between them to accomplish cooperative tasks.

Most of the challenges use, and sometimes combine, inventory items. Others involve sequencing and/or dialog choices. A top-down mini-game with changing laser configurations and a top-down stealth sequence add variety.

Fighting opponents is also necessary -- from a punching sequence, to matches in the ring, to arm wrestling, to one-on-one combat as part of a video game. I flunked the video game fight, but this apparently did not affect the outcome of the main game. Some fights require a quick response, but others are won by trickery or the application of inventory items.

The hardest challenges involve creative uses of inventory, particularly the timed sequences. These can stretch gameplay considerably, unless you know the precise item and where (and when) to use it. Another particularly difficult challenge seems to be part of a dialog sequence -- but the dialog turns out to be a distraction rather than part of the puzzle.

Ground Rules

Da New Guys uses a third person perspective; movements and interactions are accomplished entirely with the mouse. Occasionally you have to move a character to the edges of the screen to see the directional arrows. Most of the game is in 2D, though the car chase sequence has an odd, rounded 3D effect.

One glitch in the final match created a dead end. Going back to a previous save eliminated the problem. Three save game slots are available, in addition to the autosave -- far superior to autosave only, but more save slots would be appreciated.

Achievements are obtained during the game, but these don't (as far as I could tell) involve any extra gameplay.

Jackass Is as Jackass Does

A game about wrestlers with the word "jackass" in the title invites loads of off-color humor and plenty of pummeling. Yet, there was practically none of the former, and surprisingly little of the latter. A few sight gags, yes, and some crazy, risky stunts. But obscenities, bodily function jokes, and rude gestures were noticeably absent.

Day of the Jackass (the title) disserves Da New Guys, because it sets up false expectations. Gamers who avoid brawling and ribald humor might not even try the game, and therefore miss an experience they would have enjoyed.

Quick List for Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass

An amusing "day in the life" of three professional wrestling celebrities. Bright, cartoon-like graphics, a memorable villain, comedic situations and stunts. At different times, you assume the roles of Da New Guys team members: Defender, Simon, and Brain.

Very good writing and voiceovers. You can click through the dialogs. Appropriate for older children and up.

Third person perspective, point-and-click interface. Frequent inventory puzzles, sequencing challenges, one maze, one stealth sequence, no sound based challenges or sliding tile puzzles. Several timed challenges -- some require accessing and then using inventory items. A bit of red herring misdirection. Difficulty level ranges from medium to high. You can't die.

Three save game slots (not enough), plus an autosave. No problems with installation. One glitch that led to a dead end, resolved by replaying from a previous save. About seven hours of gameplay.

Aimed at fans of the classic LucasArts adventures, and gamers who enjoy a comic strip setting, peopled by outsize celebrity characters.

Final grade: B

What I played it on: 

Dell Studio XPS 8000

Windows 7 Home Premium

Intel Core i5-750 processor

6GB DDR3 SDRAM

1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220

Soundblaster X-Fi

 

Da New Guys: Day of the Jackass is available via download from the Wadjet Eye website.

 

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March 2012

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