Last year, an unassuming game came to iOS in the form of Jack Lumber. At first glance, it seemed to be a clone of Fruit Ninja, but upon careful inspection, it was actually a much, much deeper experience.
Developer Owlchemy Labs have demonstrated that they can create an interesting, captivating world on top of a solid gameplay foundation, and best of all -- an obscene over-the-top love for puns.
Jack Lumber (iPad, iPhone, PC [reviewed]) Developer: OwlchemyLabs Publisher: OwlchemyLabs Release: April 30, 2013 MSRP: $7.49
Jack Lumber is a fairly level-headed guy -- that is, when evil trees aren't murdering his Granny. Out for revenge, the magical Jack awakens his lumberjack time-freezing powers, and vows to kill every last tree. It's a silly setup, and it's one you'll be able to pick up and play in seconds, as the game is easily controlled by way of your mouse -- as logs fly up on the screen, you just click to freeze time, and trace a line through the ends of each log to cut them for points.
At a base level, that's essentially it. But the key concept here is that you choose when to freeze the action, kind of like a bullet-time button in Max Payne. Not only is your slicing ability called into question, but in later levels, actually choosing when to freeze time can be a major factor as well.
Then you're introduced to one way logs, which force you to cut a certain way to clear them. Or the maple syrups, which have to be cut dead last after you've dispatched all of the wood. Or even further, the concept of a log that splits into three when you hold your cursor near it, or the explosive barrel, and so on. Now imagine a new concept introduced every few levels, and imagine them all mixing together in some stages.
As you progress through the game you'll begin to see patterns -- like mazes -- appear. If you "straight cut" (essentially zipping your mouse through multiple pieces) a certain area, you'll find an easier route to the next set of pieces before time runs out, which will earn you more points. You can also earn more points by quickly cutting through logs and earning combos for not breaking sequence. It's an intriguing prospect, and one that doesn't really let up through the entire length of the game. Jack Lumber is as casual or as hardcore as you want it to be, which is perfect for pretty much any puzzle fan.
The mobile staple "challenges" (called Errands) are also intact, which task you with completing three distinct tasks over the course of your adventure, cycling in and out as you finish them. Errands consist of typical fare like "slice three straight-cuts," or "get an eight log combo." It's a minor annoyance, but these challenges don't show up in the pause screen when playing, which makes it tough to figure out what you need to do if you were so inclined to grab a quick reminder.
So what's the actual point of the game? Well, you'll trek through each stage as you progress through the outlandish narrative, meet new characters, attempt to earn a three star rating, and ... rescue animals? Yep, at the very end of every stage, you have to avoid cutting up a cute woodland critter -- if you succeed, you'll take them home with you.
As you start to fill your cabin with creatures, you'll see more and more puns fill the room compliments of the wily Beaver -- perhaps more puns than most could ever hope to handle in a lifetime. Thankfully, I happen to pine for puns myself -- it's just something to be aware of, if you're not a fan of overly silly tones.
Completing levels will earn you wood, which is like Jack Lumber's currency. Unlike the iOS version, there's no microtransactions system to speak of, so there's no fear of a curbed economy or pay-walling. The same items from the iOS version are on offer, some of which are one-use items, most of which are cosmetic (everybody loves hats!), barring a few "beards" that grant some pretty tame special abilities. I really wish the developers used this opportunity to expand the store, perhaps with a few new stages or modes, as it would have gave more prior users a chance to double-dip.
Nevertheless, for a budget priced game there's tons of content on offer here, with online leaderboards, the ability to earn three stars on every stage, and the entire shop to peruse. You'll also have the opportunity to tackle Infinitrees if you've saturated every ranking, which are basically infinite challenges.
All in all, Jack Lumber is pretty straight-forward with what it's offering you. While it could have stood to include a bit more content with the PC re-release and a few enhanced tweaks, it's still an incredibly fun time-waster that happens to challenge you from time to time. You'll cut wood, you'll freeze time, repeat, and somehow it remains compelling.
So what are yew waiting for? Branch out, and give this charming puzzle game a try. Yule won't be sorry.
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.
Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.
OverlordZetta Can this be Toy Story 4? [youtube]https://youtu.be/XJkZX0rKElY[/youtube]Gamemaniac3434 Also I will be reviewing freedom wars.
I didnt make it to the end.
I will not be kind to it.
There will be blood.
Gamemaniac3434 Yeah....been there before. techsupport MGS V review: When using a character other than Big Boss for missions, the intro credits still say, "starring Punished 'Venom' Snake." Sloppy work, Kojima - no wonder Konami dumped you. 0/10. Gamemaniac3434 Grim Fandango......some real good sruff here. As soon as I complete it (vita version, of course) will probably see about a write up. Not perfect, but theres some good stuff here. Glad it got brought back from obsolescence hell. Rad Party God *sigh* If only Disqus had a "block/ignore user" option :/VIRGO Must. Use. This. Blog. More. But. School.GoofierBrute Just started playing Hyrule Warriors again. Man is that game fun. A bit mindless at times granted, but fun nonetheless.RadicalYoseph I ate vanilla ice cream and didn't put on any chocolate syrup. Now wondering if that was racist whitewashing #thanksjed.Jiraya The cat dragged in some action figures !
[img]http://i.imgur.com/51DLqjh.jpg[/img]Dr Mel There's a Custom Soundtrack folder in MGSV. I can't think of a better thing to put there than the old episodes of podtoid I've been running through lately. I'll be fultoning guys and Holmes will be puttin' on mesh tank tops. Perfect.Shinta MGSV Pro Tip: Turn your brightness down to 0. It actually makes the view distance for the guards correct, and doesn't make nighttime the best option for you every single time. When guards shoot flares in the sky, the lighting looks like Dragon's Dogma.Pixie The Fairy Proof I listened to too much Weird Al growing up:
I really do hear "Living in America" as "Living with a Hernia."Nic Rowen I've been playing a shit ton of Heroes of the Storm recently. It's my first MOBA and I'm SHOCKED at how much fun I'm having. Anyone else into it? Would love to get some games in with Dtoiders.Script I would wait for a chance to play the game by myself, but I just have to know. Is David Hayter in MGS V in any way? Please no spoilers. Rad Party God Guys, serious question... How can I make D-Horse to poop?gajknight Goddammit @ FullmetalJ, you have poisoned my mind with...whatever the hell this is.[youtube]https://youtu.be/wv0iUKb80C8[/youtube]
It's so, so catchy. Go suck a baguette. And thanks :3. Yes I have listened to all of it.Niero Desu That time when Mr. Destructoid went to Vegas [img]http://i.imgur.com/hYEQG7z.jpg[/img]SirDavies As someone who hasn't played the MGS series at all, should I play it by release date or story order? Vuster Been watching a good friend play the Metal Gear game on twitch soon. I will say I can understand the appeal 100% and Kojima knows how to make a great piece of work. I think will hold off on a new pc and get this if this keeps up!