Pumpkin Jack is a spooky, Halloween-themed, indie 3D Platformer that brings back the nostalgia of the PS2 era platforming games such as the Jak and Daxter series. Solo-developed by Nico and Published by Head Up Games, this game is packed full of puzzles, fun characters, collectibles, and more.
Pumpkin Jack is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and currently in development (at the time of writing this) for PlayStation 4.
There is complete peace in the Boredom Kingdom, as the land and all its creatures live in a perfect co-existence. There is no war, no hunger, no fear. That is until the Devil himself became so bored with the peace that he decided to unleash the Curse of the Eternal Night, a powerful spell that awakens the bloodthirsty monsters in the land.
However, in hopes of finding a way to undo what the devil had done, the Humans sought the aid of a masterful wizard, the only being powerful enough to put an end to the curse. When the Devil discovers what the humans have done, he decides to bring his own champion to retaliate, and so, Jack’s soul is summoned into a pumpkin. The Devil makes Jack a deal, and gives him a makeshift body to help carry out the plan, and sends him on his way to destroy the Wizard!
Pumpkin Jack has a lot of awesome costumes and designs, but he’s not the only character in the game obviously. Joining Jack is an array of fun and uniquely designed characters from Owls to Crows and of course the enemies. Jack’s closest allies are a Cowardly Crow and an angry looking Owl, both of whom aid Jack on his journey. The Cowardly Crow assists Jack in combat when you press the correct command button for him to attack at a distance, and this can be useful for breaking obstacles as well during the mine-cart dash.
One of the fun aspects of the game is collecting enough crow skulls to use at the store to buy fun new costumes for Jack, as well as unlocking new weapons after defeating certain bosses. There is even a Santa suit for Jack so now you can play this Halloween-themed adventure at Christmas time as well.
As mentioned previously, Pumpkin Jack is a throwback to the 3D platformers of the PS2 era, sharing similar mechanics to games such as Jak and Daxter, as you jump across treacherous swamps, up towers made of creaking wood, and across the land itself to get through to the end, all whilst fighting a swarm of different enemies, from energy blasting skull totems to skeletons, rats, ghosts, and of course the bosses of each level.
There are plenty of puzzles to solve as you battle your way through seven unique levels that have you traversing landscapes in fun and challenging ways, such as using a mine-cart or a ghost horse, both of which require you to jump over obstacles and use your crow companion to break through barriers before you reach them.
Some of the levels or controls might feel a little repetitive for certain tasks, so depending on your preferred play style, you might only want to play a couple of levels at a time before switching it off and coming back to it later, but personally, I think it’s a game that can easily be played through in one sitting.
Having played the game on PC using a Windows Xbox 360 controller, I will say that the control of the character is pretty smooth, and so is the camera control. From my experience, it wasn’t a game where I was constantly fighting the camera to focus on where I was going so the whole playthrough was honestly without fault for me.
Pumpkin Jack is a modern platformer that revives the feeling you got playing the classic platformers from the PlayStation era. With great graphics, well-designed characters, humorous dialogue, and a great soundtrack to boot, this game is a must-play for platformer fans. Having only 7 levels, this game is short but can be replayed a few times at least, especially if you don’t grab all the collectibles in your first playthrough. I look forward to seeing what other games the developer and publisher of this game can bring, and I personally would love to see more of Pumpkin Jack as a character.