Jazz: Trump’s Journey in Review – Blow Your Own Horn

There was a time where it seemed like developers weren’t interested in making platform games for iOS devices, or the ones that were available weren’t that great.  Now we’re not only seeing a steady influx in this genre, but many of them are of a quality that’s on par with or even surpasses console games.  Such is the case with JAZZ: Trump’s journey.  Not only is it graphically in line with many console favorites, but the level design is quite intriguing and the difficulty makes me think the developers might have been Mega Man fans!  Overall the game has been quite entertaining so far.

If you want to know the true story about the jazz legend Louis Armstrong’s life, try reading a book.  On the other hand, Trump’s Journey is a fun, interactive tribute that just might teach you a thing or two about the artist’s humble beginnings anyway.  You play trump, and your mission is to find your trumpet, form a bad and usher in the era of jazz music.  Along the way you’ll get sagely advice from you granny and you’ll take a trek through a stylized version of New Orleans to boot.

All the typical platform elements are here – moving platforms, ropes to swing on, crates to move, pits to avoid and so on.  Once you find your trumpet, the trumpet button will freeze anything that has a treble clef with a green circle on it, and tapping the button again will unfreeze these objects.  Some cops and other items are also susceptible to this power.  This can make some puzzles really intriguing to figure out, and the game does a great job of using this mechanic to its fullest.  As for collectables (every good platform game has them), there are 80 notes and 10 photographs to be found on each level.  Notes are easy to spot but sometimes tricky to get.  Photos are often hidden and provide an extra challenge.

Controls are basic: left and right arrows for running and swinging on ropes, up and down arrows for climbing ladders, a jump button, an action button for things like entering doors and pushing / pulling crates, and a button for blowing your trumpet.  The controls are only on screen when necessary, and the levels are designed in such a way that the controls never really get in the way.

The only real gripe I have with the gameplay is in the checkpoint system.  There’s no way to pass a checkpoint without triggering it, which might seem good in theory but in a couple of cases has prevented me from going back to get some collectables I missed.  The other thing is that when you’ve been out of the game long enough you can only resume from a “major” checkpoint, and while I’m not 100% sure what that is I know on some occasions I’ve lost a bit of progress.  Not monumental but sometimes annoying.

The artist’s interpretation of New Orleans is quite stylish and really neat.  The characters remind me of an old fashioned cartoon, and while much of the dialog is done in new-fangled “The Sims” talk, important dialog is actually written out to the screen in a style reminiscent of silent films.  The sound effects are pretty standard platform fare, though I do like it when Trump blows his trumpet, and the sound policemen make when you jump on them is quite amusing.  If you like jazz music you should really dig the sound track, and there’s a good chance you’ll like it even if you’re not a fan.  Occasionally it gets repetitive, but for the most part it’s quite enjoyable.

I’ve struggled a bit with rating this game, because even with the cool time stopping mechanism I wasn’t sure the game rose to the “kiss it” level.  As I’ve gotten deeper into the game and experienced some of the more advanced levels, however, the struggle quickly faded away.  I’m still not crazy about the checkpoint system, but in the end there’s no question that if you’re a platform game fan you need to give Jazz: Trump’s Journey a try.

App Summary
Title: JAZZ: Trump’s journeyDeveloper: Bulkypix
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:4.0
Price:$2.99App Size:
  • Time stopping trumpet
  • Great level design
  • Slick, stylish visuals
  • Cool jazz soundtrack
  • So-so checkpoint system

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