Tuesday 26 October 2021

Pumpkin Jack new-gen game review (PS5)


Pumpkin Jack New-Gen Edition out now on Playstation 5 & Xbox Series X|S

New-Gen gaming of Pumpkin Jack

Get in the Halloween spirit with this pumpkin-headed 3D platformer now on next-gen consoles.

Pumpkin Jack New-Gen Edition, an enhanced version of the well-received PS4, Xbox One & PC 3D platformer from Thunderful Publishing and Headup Games, has made the leap to next-gen and is now available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

Carved from the legacy of old-school 3D platformers like MediEvil and Jak & Daxter, solo developer Nicolas Meyssonnier successfully melds his love of those titles with a modern approach and sets it all in a spookily atmospheric world that finds fun in monsters, ghouls and devilish challenges. Harnessing the power of the PS5 and Xbox One Series X|S, the New-Gen Edition brings enhancements that have the eponymous Jack grinning more vibrantly than ever before.   

Enhanced gaming on with New-Gen edition

On PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, Pumpkin Jack New-Gen Edition has a Performance Mode that targets up to 4K resolution at 60fps. On PS5 and Xbox Series X, a Quality Mode is also available that targets up to 4K resolution at 30fps, adding higher quality effects and shadows with ray-tracing. 

Making this Halloween treat just that little bit sweeter is the fact that Pumpkin Jack is cross-buy on both PlayStation and Xbox platforms. So, if you already own Pumpkin Jack on PS4/Xbox One, you’ll automatically get access to the PS5/Xbox Series X|S New-Gen Edition at no extra cost!

Stepping into the shoes of the mythical pumpkin lord, Pumpkin Jack New-Gen Edition sees you set out on an epic quest to help evil triumph over good. 3D platforming challenges in the colourful and diverse Arc En Ciel Kingdom are mixed with fun combat encounters where you can deploy an awesome arsenal of weapons (occasionally with a snarky crow or haughty owl fighting at your side), as well as solve light puzzles and take on various mini-game challenges.  

Pumpkin Jack creator

Nicolas Meyssonnier started developing Pumpkin Jack as a spare-time project in 2016 while studying at the University. Inspired by old PlayStation platformers he played in his childhood, such as Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank, Nicolas figured that the current market lacked these kinds of inspiring 3D platformers. Attracted by the dark and spooky atmospheres of games like MediEvil, he decided to create his own game, which culminated in Pumpkin Jack!

“I’m delighted to bring Pumpkin Jack to new consoles at this appropriately spooky time of year,” said Pumpkin Jack developer Nicolas Meyssonnier. “The addition of ray-tracing and other enhancements I’ve been able to make over the last-gen version makes this the definitive edition of Pumpkin Jack!”

Pumpkin Jack gameplay 

Pumpkin Jack is an enjoyable action platform game that evokes memories of simple yet packed full of fun platform games of yesteryear whilst honoring the beauty and joy that OG platform games provide. 

Played straight through it is a short but sweet and spooky game. With a nod to the number of the beast 666, the game is made up of 6 levels, 6 bosses and 6 spooktacular outfits to collect. The levels all offer different sinister locations such as the cemetery and the haunted mines. Pumpkin Jack has a number of foes to fight in the different levels such as scarecrows, bats and even fire snowball spitting snowmen! Classically the game has bosses at the end of each level and provides variety with the fact that you need to battle the bosses in different ways to be victorious.

The art style is wonderful and I love the use of spooky colours in particular purples, greens, oranges, blues and greys along with an eerie glow to bring the world of Pumpkin Jack alive for a truly spooky and medieval-esk backdrop. The music is also spot on for the game style, creating a Halloween vibe that is perfect for the mysterious darkness of the game.

The game offers a storybook narrative which details Jack’s missions and challenges as he battles to help evil triumph over good. The mythical pumpkin man is not alone in his adventures, he has the help of a crow sidekick who offers tactical help to allow Jack to hit enemies and overcome obstacles whilst also offering sarcastic, wisecracking convo.

The combat in the game is simple yet fun. Employing the classic oldie but goodie button bashing of the square button for different moves, gamers can keep an eye on health with a green status bar that depletes with hits. Health can be recovered by collecting orbs dropped from defeated enemies or by destroying objects. Death will not stop the fun gameplay, if you die you simply respawn at your most recent checkpoint. Providing wit and a playful tone, the game mocks you for how many times you have died!

Intertwined in the action are creative mini puzzles. Amusingly Jack unscrews his head for the crow to wear to complete one of the fun minigames such as whack-a-mole. Another amusing element of the game was riding the minecarts.

As well as unlocking new outfits, unlocked at the end of every level is new weaponry such as a gun, scythe or a talking sword. Once unlocked, gamers can swap between the different weapons. Like all the best OG platform games, this adventure platform game boasts collectibles. Satisfying my love of finding collectibles each level has 20 crow skulls plus one sneakily hidden gramophone within the environment.

Packed full of Halloween inspired puns the game and a spooktacular atmosphere this game is perfect for some fun, lighthearted old style gaming this Halloween. 

New-gen vs old gen

Having played the game on both PS5 and PS4 I can attest to the performance and quality improvement provided by the new-gen edition. When playing on the PS5 the performance is boosted with it running at a speedy, smooth 60 frames per second, the visuals at crisper and more defined thanks to quality mode and ray-tracing the quality effects and shadows are heightened and improved. 

Even though the new-gen edition of the game provides improved performance and visual quality, the game looks and plays great on the PS4 too.

Pumpkin Jack - carving out a lit game

Pumpkin Jack is a charming game that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of OG platform games. It enchants the gamer with old school platform gaming vibes blended beautifully with a wonderful, spooky art style. Most of all it is an extremely impressive game developed by a single person indie creator!

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